The next time you want to get your child’s cooperation with something, engage his imagination. Three years old is the age where their imaginations are most active. I still remember a lecture in Dentistry where our lecture told us that one of the best ways to handle three year old patients is to engage their imagination. Make believe, play pretend, whatever you want to call it, it can work wonders for gaining a child’s cooperation.
One of the downsides to this disciplinary tactic is that it requires you to be imaginative yourself. Not surprisingly, I haven’t really used this one with Gavin. I’d like to think I’m imaginative, but I’m afraid I fail when it comes to being imaginative with my son. It isn’t much of a stretch to pretend to be an engine when we’re playing, but turning it into a means of gaining his cooperation is still beyond me.
Here are some examples Pantley gives in her book “The No-Cry Discipline Solution”: hop to the car like a kangaroo, turning vegetable soup into a magic power brew (I’m sorry, I’ve tried something similar but it didn’t work with Gavin), toys that come alive and make a parade back into the toy box. I’m honestly quite pathetic at this but we’ll try. Perhaps this is one of those things you get better at with practice…
If you’re more creative than me, perhaps you’d like to share your stories about how you’ve engaged your child’s imagination in order to gain his cooperation?