Do you ever have those days where your child seems grumpy all day?
He gives you ‘that look’ in response to polite requests.
She has a complete meltdown because you gave her the wrong cereal.
My ‘red’ day…
It was the Easter Holidays. I’d had four hours sleep with pregnancy insomnia. My then three year old insulted me over breakfast: “you’re a poo poo”, and “you’re called peanuts” (the ultimate insult at the time).
Me: “Are you angry? We don’t call each other names, but you can tell me what’s upsetting you.”
Answer: “Poo poo.”
Really? I thought. It’s only 7.30. I could feel that annoyance trigger being pressed. Was our whole day going to be like this?
Now it was tempting to go into threats of punishment (been there before – and gradually the day would get worse). I knew this was code for “something’s bothering me, but I don’t know how to feel better”.
If I wanted the name-calling to stop, I had to tackle what was going on underneath. I had to get rid of those stress hormones.
We needed to laugh.
But I needed something special.
I racked my brain for some sort of roughhousing I could do while seven months pregnant, I said, “How about instead of saying “poo poo”, why don’t we do something fun? Would you like a game of… er, Sock Forts?”
His eyes lit up and his legs did that excited kicky thing.
The magic of socks (for all ages)
There’s something highly satisfying about throwing balled socks at a loved one (especially when they’re engrossed in electronics). And it doesn’t hurt.
Tip: though do avoid heavy adult socks, like walking socks – those DO hurt! You can always use tiny little children’s socks.
If you’ve already done the sock fight thing, you know what I mean. Like pillow fights and chasing, you can roughhouse with your child in a giggly, safe way, which you both enjoy.
I didn’t realise sock fights could be made even better!
We positioned the big sofa cushions into two protective forts (nothing complicated!), with no man’s land in between.
My son helped me ‘make safe’ the room.
He put cushions over the corners of the coffee table and we removed anything breakable.
Then we ran upstairs to ‘gather ammunition’ aka code for ‘let’s pair up all those clean socks and call it a game’.
Bonus incentive: we started off with what whatever we matched. Half an hour later, my son was giggling and so was I. And it wasn’t that pretend parent laughter we sometimes put on. It was full on belly laughter.
Going out into ‘no man’s land’ was particularly funny, having to gather ammunition while being attacked.
My three-year-old made a ‘shield’ out of a cushion for no-man’s land (great problem-solving – an idea I then stole). Whatever it was stressing him out that day, our game did the trick, and miraculously, the ‘red’ day became a ‘green’.
We headed out to the park in a great mood and had a memorable day. No more “poo poos” (or “peanuts”). Hoorah!
How about you?
Have you ever had a sock fight?
What games help your child to laugh?
Do you ever have those ‘red days’ where your child’s mood is difficult to shift?
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Wishing you lots of love and laughter, Emma x