Quick change

One of the most stressful circumstances for me as a parent is when I really need to be somewhere (at work, for example) and neither child is cooperating with my sweet, love-filled requests (to put it mildly). I can feel my blood pressure rising, my shoulders tensing, my voice increasing in volume and my requests start turning into angry demands. Shockingly, my children don’t suddenly stop the dilly-dallying and put their shoes on and start walking to the car. Often, they become angry, stressed and start yelling too. We all end up in Nowheresville.

About a year ago, I introduced my children to the “British Lady at the shoe shop.” She speaks with an English accent and fumbles around trying to find the best fitting shoe for each child. Think of Amelia Bedelia meets Supernanny. Because I use it sparingly, it tends to work beautifully. Other times, I have introduced a mime, an alien and the Swedish Chef from the Muppets. None of these have special powers (or do they?) but they do change the situation quickly and dramatically. Often when we sense our parenting is spiraling downward and the stress is accumulating, we just need to break that momentum. Whether we create a new character to guide kids through a required task, let them be the parent or we just whisper the requests, it shifts children’s actions (or inaction as the case may be) into doing what we need them to do.

For your viewing pleasure:

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