Bag o Tricks: No. 3

child doing chores

No. 3

“Would you be Willing…”

Caring for children has taught me patience and polite manners. “Would you be willing to grab me a spoon so I can scoop you some yogurt for snack?” often elicits a happy helper, and also allows them the option to say “No” if they are busy. In those cases I will get the spoon myself.

I also try to be as specific as I can when asking a child to perform an activity.  “Could you pick up the yellow backpack and these three legos and put them in your toy bin? I would appreciate that help as I clean the family room”. This way they know precisely what to do. 

If they are not keen on helping, I will change the point of view and frame it as a question. “Would you like your backpack put in your bin or in your toy drawer? The bin? Ok, here is the backpack for you to put in there”. This forces them to focus on the activity in a non threatening way and engages their mind in that direction where a follow through feels natural and simple. Polite requests and patience make a massive difference in your interactions with a child.