Once we have children we realize so many activities are not enjoyable but necessary. Who hasn’t had a battle over a diaper change, brushing teeth or completing a stretch? How can we lessen the battles that occur over uncomfortable and undesirable activities?
One way to do this is to reframe the activity in one’s own mind. Washing my child’s hair can become a wonderful activity because it is the only time I get to spend time close with him as he does not want physical attention. A diaper change can become a fun activity that is based on undivided attention, tickles, songs, and love.
How do we turn this around? We start with reframing the activity in our parental mind. Second realize that the battle may derive from the fact that the child does not understand that the activity is finite and will end soon. If we believe a situation is uncomfortable and do not understand that the end is soon we also battle and fret. Help the child understand the end point is near. Try setting a timer for the activity. Once the timer rings the activity ends, even if it is not to our liking. Once the song is over the activity ends or once we count to fifty the activity ends. The child begins to learn that the activity is finite and the battle lessens. Once this basic lesson is learned we can slowly and slyly extend the time by setting the timer a bit longer, or singing the song more slowly, or asking for help while counting.
Lastly remember that most of us enjoy novel experiences. During the undesirable activities, have a basket of books or toys that are only available during said activity. Silly putty, a lava lamp, a glue and glitter bottle are all easy, enjoyable and distracting items. Here is a link to making a glue and glitter bottle. These are a wonderful distraction!
Have you figured out anything other activities that work? Please let us know so we can pass on the information to other parents.