I always have this challenge to ask my daughter to keep toys after playing. I was being challenged yesterday, again.
Yesterday when we were preparing ourselves to go out, she just refused to keep her toys. I have tried many ways to convince her to do so but failed miserably. I even threatened her if she didn’t keep the toys, we would leave her behind. She couldn’t think of any excuses to win the battle, she cried… mind you very loudly.
Why not? Isn’t crying the best weapon to win in situations like this?
On usual days, frankly, I would have used violence on her. But this time I wanted to find some diplomatic ways to solve this problem.
In the midst of her cry, she tried to convince me with another excuse (the best I’ve ever heard in my 4 years of fatherhood!):
“The toy is heavy, daddy.”
Like other dads, I was tempted to use logic (like when getting out the toy from the shelf, you did not complain that it was heavy…) to tell her to stop the nonsense. If I were to do that I would have created more resistance in her.
I remembered I read somewhere (or my wife told me?) that if we wanted to get our toddlers or preschoolers to do something, we have to make it fun. Or at least, turn it into a game. With the help of my swift mind, I told my daughter, “Why don’t you push the toy on the floor just like a trolley. And once you reach the shelf, lift it up.”
She smiled once I finished the sentence. No more crying. And I knew the approach worked!
She happily pushed the “heaviest” toy and kept it. Followed suit were smaller toys. In no time, all the toys which were lying on the floor were kept tidily on the shelf.
Why so? Because she never thought that keeping toys was a chore anymore but fun. And her ego disappeared as I didn’t attack her directly.
Everyone was happy during the outing. And it lasted for the whole day. Just imagine if I didn’t try this approach and used my usual way to face this challenge. What would our trip be?