Friday, August 3, 2012

Kid Games

We all have one - a friend who has no kids and therefore is sooooo much more creative and patient with our children than we could ever hope to be. This person is also way more fun than we are. This is the friend that you wait to tell your kids is visiting, so you can lord it over them as bribery or potential punishment. "Welllll, uncle Nayt was going to visit this weekend, but I might need to call him and tell him not to come if you don't clean your room...." or "if you hit your sister one more time I'm calling uncle Nayt and telling him to cancel his flight! No Nayt for you!" 

I swear at one point in my life I practiced positive, non-manipulative discipline. I really did. 

Nayt was kind enough to type up some of his most tried-and-true kid games. I have seen them all in action, and have been begged to play them on many occasions but, as I've said, I don't have the patience for more than about 4 minutes total of any one of these.*

  • The Gripper - I make a mouth with my hand called The Gripper. If the kid comes close, I grip his/her wrist. The Gripper only lets go if the kid gives him something else to grip. Often the kid will hand one object after another to The Gripper who drops one object for the next. Sometimes the gripper refuses an object. Sometimes the gripper sniffs the object. They love it when the gripper furiously shakes an object.  
  • Kid Jail - I tell them I'm putting them in jail and narrate each step of the way: "First I grab their wrists (while standing behind them), then I cross them over their body, then tuck their hands under their arms. Then they're in Kid Jail and they can NEVER BREAK OUT." Then I let them twist their wrists out of it (but not too easily) and I act shocked and say no one's ever broken out before and they are delighted. Sometimes they will reverse it and put me in Adult Jail and I act really mad that I can't break free. (I think they love the affection in this game)
  • Huge Reaction - Have a huge reaction to anything they do. Once, every time my friend's daughter hiccupped,  I acted completely startled, and more startled with each hiccup until I was scrunched up in the corner in fear. It made her laugh until tears came out.  
    Nayt with some kid
  • Please Don't Eat That - Act totally grossed out that the kid is eating whatever food. Maybe say I'm disgusted by "human food". This will make them finish their plate every time. (Amanda's Side Note: My kids LOVE this game and yes, always clean their plates) Once I incorporated fake phone calls to my superviser "Yeah, he's doing it again. He took another bite. I know, it's disgusting. I tried, he won't stop. EWW he just took another bite. I'll call you back, I have to barf."  
  • Push the button - Pretend there's a button on my chest, or hand, or whatever that makes me go to sleep and wake up. Sometimes when I wake up I repeat a robot startup message, or say "I don't know what happened, one minute I was awake and then..." and they've usually pushed the button again.
  • Mime Car Controls - Pretend invisible things control the car: 1) Ask if they want to see my motorcycle trick and mime revving a motocycle handle while revving the gas (while in neutral) 2) Pretend there are several strings hanging from the ceiling and when I pull each one it controls a different feature of the car like the gas and brake etc. After modeling it, let the kid conrtol the strings. Have to exaggerate the gas and brake slightly for the effect to seem real. 3) Use Jedi-like hand gestures towards to the road ahead or the next lane to change lanes or speed up. I still don't have a very good one for stopping - so far I just slowly close my fist while slightly lowering it.
  • Let Me See Your Brain -When they do something smart, I ask to see their brain. I hold their head and put my eye right up to their ear and say "Yep, I can see your brain, you are definitely smart." 

  • I have to add one more, the lazy-man's kid game, which I play constantly with my own kids.

    * Tickle Monster - Hold your hands in a tickle-claw up in front of you and make your eyes very wide while saying "Tickle Monster" in a very Frankenstein-esque fashion. Actually slowly walking toward them and eventually catching them (because they always lay down on the floor or 'hide' on their bed) is optional. Personally I like to just strike the pose from time to time, maybe shift forward in my chair an inch or so, which always sends them screaming. 

    Good times. Now go forth and play! 

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