Are the kids bad-mouthing, dissin' you, acting out, bullying other kids, or ignoring you, not participating, not listening, not following directions, mopin' around? Would they rather be playing Nintendo or watching TV/Video? Do you encourage them to explore interest centers and try their hand at arts & crafts, and they refuse or rebel?
Maybe your kids are saying through their behavior: "Hey, you're not as fun as Nintendo, movies, CD's or TV -- why should I pay attention to you?!" What do you do?
After 25 years of playing with children from 6 weeks to 16 years old, the following tools may help you on the road to initiating fun, especially with school-agers.
I. BUILD RAPPORT. Nothing works if you don't have rapport! Try these two RB's (Rapport Builders):
II. EXCITE! Starting with you genuine enthusiasm -- otherwise, if you're not excited, why should the kids be?! Then:
Finally, really listen to your kids -- from their shoes. Validate and say yes to their feelings; share their laughter as well as their pain; empower them in their own solutions. Follow their lead as much as possible. Good leadership with children includes genuine followership. And plan to fail (I still have activities go bust often!), so that you can learn to plan and execute better the next time.
Even the best activities from the best books only come alive when good leadership is at play. So remember, you're competing with powerful electronic media. Your challenge is to be as good and better. By taking a risk and utilizing the above tools, you'll have the clear advantage. Have FUN!
Recognized as a world-class presenter and international authority on play (author of How To Play With Kids; videos on "The Essentials of Play Leadership" and the just released "Fun, Fast & Easy Activities"), Mr. Therrell is available for highly motivating, informative, interactive trainings at 1-800-359-7331 (also for books and videos).