Yesterday my daughter and I did special time, and then I need to tidy up the kitchen a bit before going out. As soon as I started my daughter was complaining of being bored, and having nothing to do. I could of gently set a limit with her, and told her in a more serious way that I needed to tidy up, but my intuition was telling me that she needed to laugh. I thought of another idea. I saw the oven gloves, hanging by the oven, and flung them into the dishwasher, and then said, ”oh no! What are they doing in there?”
She started laughing so I began repeating it with different objects, tea towels, food, tea bags, toys and even my mobile phone and a broom with the handle sticking out. The more outlandish the object, the more my daughter laughed.
Pretty soon, she’d forgotten all about that moment of boredom. I was able to tidy up in between the laughs as the game expanded and developed. As I put away stuff from the dishwasher I accidentally put mugs in the blender, or forks in the fridge, then I’d get a confused look on my face, and say, ”hang on, that’s not right! Let me try again.” In the end we did get everything tidied up, and the bonus was that after the laughter she felt much more connected, and getting out of the house was much easier.
I’ve been talking to my daughter about the ‘giggle games,’ that I write down to remember for later and as we were playing this one she told me ”you should write this giggle game down, this will make me happy.” It’s interesting as she gets older that she’s beginning to gain an awareness of the purpose of playlistening, simply to make our children happy! And when they are happy, life also becomes a little easier for the parents too 😉
Wondering what playlistening is? Check out this intro here. And if you’re looking for fun ways to involve your children in the tidying up check out these 25 tips for having fun tidying up with kids
When my daughter was about 12 months old we went on a long summer trip and took quite a few plane flights. If I was lucky my daughter would sleep, but if not, she would be restless and frustrated because she couldn’t get down and crawl. I had a big bag of toys to try and keep her entertained but she never seemed that interested in them.
On this occasion, she was sitting on my lap. I pulled my cardigan over me to keep warm, and she grabbed it, threw it onto the floor and laughed. It became a game. I would make a big deal out of trying to put my cardigan over me, then she would pull it away, and delightedly throw it onto the floor. We played it over and over again, as she laughed and laughed. Then we enjoyed the rest of the flights as she sat contently on my lap, playing with a plastic cup.
When we travelled a lot by public transport, and when I saw her looking a bit bored and listless in her buggy I try to initiate a quick playlistening session with her. It could be tossing around her socks, and being surprised where they land, or begging her not to throw her toy onto the floor. The laughter helped us both to relax, and gave me more patience, so I wasn’t just focused on getting to our destination, but also enjoying these little moments of connection along the way.
Playlistening is any kind of play where are child laughs while we are in the less powerful role. It can help our child to release stress and frustration that can be common while travelling.
When we go on a journey we may focus on the ‘things’ we need to entertain our baby or toddler but often what they actually need most is a warm relaxed connection with us. If you are travelling this summer be sure to pack some playlistening games in your suitcase!
To find out more about playlistening read my post Giggle Parenting: The Best ‘Discipline’ Tool Out There!