5 ways to support children in doing things they don't like doing
Sometimes things just need to get done and our children might not be happy about it. Here are five ways to support children in doing things they don't like doing.
We all have situations where we ask kids to do something they don't want to do, whether we are parents or other adults who work with kids. As parents, we frequently hold the absurd and mistaken assumption that unless we exert significant pressure on our kids, they won't care. But the truth is that you're probably losing ground in your attempt to inspire your child. While some children may whimper inside but still comply with our expectations others may rebel more publicly and display incorrect behaviour. Chronically disobedient children can be very frustrating for adults, and depending on how we address the situation, we may unintentionally make matters worse. (Also read: 5 things to do other than punishing or grounding when the kid is disobedient )
Parenting Expert and Early Interventionist, Alexandra, suggested five ways to support children in doing things they don't like doing, in her recent Instagram post.
1. Layer preferred and non-preferred activities
Sandwich is a non-preferred activity between two activities they enjoy. For example, "after we play together, we will do bath time, and then you can watch a cartoon." Doing a connecting activity before a non-preferred activity helps a child feel seen, making them more likely to cooperate, and doing another preferred activity after non- preferred activity incentives them to go through the activity they don't want to do.
2. Allow transition objects
If a child is doing a task they enjoy or are in a location they enjoy and you need them to transition to something else, it can help to allow them to bring a transition object. This can look like bringing a rock from the park, to paint at home, bringing Legos into the bath, or bringing a favourite toy into the car seat with them.
3. Familiarize them with the non-preferred activity in advance
Think of ways to discuss the activity they don't like doing before there is pressure to do it. This can take the form of reading books about the activity, creating role-play scenarios with toys, drawing pictures, reading social stories, or just talking about it.
4. Use visual timers and warnings
Using 5-minute (and 2-minute, depending on the age) warnings before you need them to do something allows the child to mentally prepare for doing the activity. Because young children have a hard time grasping time concepts, it can be even more helpful to get a visual timer or 5- minute hourglass, so they can see the time passing.
5. Play detective
Consider your child's perspective and think about why they may be resisting an activity, and see if you can solve the problem. For example, if water and soap are getting into their eyes during bath time, perhaps they would be willing to wear goggles.