Silly Helps

Lillian and her 1st grade daughter, Nora, came to see me a few times when Nora was having a hard time getting to school on time. Their mornings had turned into a stream of fruitless power battles and late arrivals.

We talked about possible rewards to increase Nora’s motivation and thought through ways to help Lillian organize the morning more effectively. Even though our ideas seemed to improve some parts of the process Nora was still resistant and relatively immobile through much of the morning.

We were all sitting together finalizing a more effective strategy when I decided to break up the “seriousness” of our conversaton. While immersed in a lively bout of air hockey Nora quietly said, “Silly, Mommy helps, it snaps me out of it.”

DUH!!! When parents can “snap out” of their usual frame of mind by using a silly voice, becoming a goofy character, playing a funny game, telling a joke or trying anything else to laugh and have fun for even a minute or two it helps everyone.

Thinking through strategies is always useful but I agree with Nora, when mom or dad is able to lighten the mood ( I know, not always easy to pull off) during a difficult time of day it can make all the difference.