Remember how in Star Wars, a Jedi could bend anyone to his will by employing Jedi mind tricks? Sometimes we parents don’t have the desire or the time to have a full-on contest of wills with our children to get everyday things done. So how do you gain their cooperation without constant threatening and cajoling? By making them think they want to do what you need them to do. In Star Wars, these tactics were known as Jedi mind tricks.
So how do you gain their cooperation without constant threatening and cajoling? By making them think they want to do what you need them to do.
Here are a few you can try with your crew. And may the force be with you…
1. Rooms need cleaning? Play “Extreme Home Makeover.”
Your kids have probably watched one of the home makeover shows on TV that take a room, or an entire home, from disaster to “Wow!” in a single episode. Let them take before and after photos so they can truly see the difference they’ve made. You could even make it a contest and post the most dramatic improvement photos on the fridge until the next round! For little kids who wouldn’t get the TV reference, make picking up a game by adding an extra degree of difficulty: “Sure you can pick up all the toys, but can you do it with the lights off? While hopping on one leg?”
2. Don’t forget the dip.
A recent study at Pennsylvania State University found that preschoolers ate more veggies when they were offered with a tasty dip. Really—it’s as simple as that. Give them a little hint of a favorite condiment and watch those nutritious veggies disappear. If your child is so jaded toward nutritious food that this tactic doesn’t work, try whipping up a batch of delicious smoothies with veggies and other nutrient-packed ingredients like greek yogurt and fruit…and call them “shakes.” Make sure not to go overboard with dips or sauces though as they do have added calories.
3. Chapter books: the most powerful sleep aid.
Preschoolers can be notoriously difficult to get to bed. Instead of reading to her from a funny and rollicking picture book aimed at entertaining with illustrations, choose a chapter book for children. The longer passages and steady pace of your reading will quickly knock…her…(yawn)…out.
4. Hide some learning in their gaming.
If your kid hates math flashcards but loves video games, you can get those multiplication facts in their heads without a fight. Find an online learning resource that feels like an arcade game to keep them learning. Make that screen time worth something!
5. Appeal to their pride.
A friend shared with me that her mom “secretly” told her that she was the best ironer among her siblings and that she was the only one mom really trusted with the task. The result? She relished every opportunity to grab the iron and be the ironing rock star in the family. It took her years to figure out her mom’s game…of course, we’re not suggesting that you lie, but leveraging your kids’ human natures against their laziness isn’t all bad!
Tell us! What is your best, your funniest, your most effective Jedi mom mind trick?