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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Encouragement Thursdays...# 2: Encouraging our Kids to be GOOD playmates

How to encourage our kids to be 
GOOD playmates...

I never thought I would have to deal with "mean girls" at  4 years of  age and I am so shocked I had to soothe my sweet baby girl after an older child on the playground told her to go away & that she didn't want to play with her.  Seeing her sweet little face streaked with tears and heart broken that someone didn't want to play with her, was heart rendering for me to witness, it still evokes emotion within me writing this.
Pic credits from this site

I don't know if I handled the situation on the playground as well as I should have, all I could do was:
  • Calm my baby girl down 
  • Tell her know she did nothing wrong  
  • she was not the one with the problem
  • The other little girls were the ones who had a problem.  
  • THEY were missing out on the all fun by not choosing to play with her

I calmly told her she was a fun little girl and we were going to have fun playing together, that if I was a little girl I would always choose to play with her.

What a tough concept for a 4 year old to grasp and this was NOT the first time something like this has happened, it is the first time she noticed other children being intentionally mean and excluding her.

I can remember my volleyball coach being furious with us if we didn't practice as hard as we played matches. She would make us run "suicides" or do "maniacs" if she caught us being lackadaisical and yell the whole time,

"You will play like you practice!" 

over and over again. I have often gone back to that phrase & applied it to many life situations and now that I am a mother I see it still applies and it is no different with my kids.

With those words in my mind, my daughter and I were playing and as imaginative as she is that day she was pretending we were lions on the pride lands and she started acting out the "situation" on the playground.  I acted out what I would like for her to say and how I would like for her to respond when she was pretending she was mean, as she told her imaginary friend to "GO AWAY!"

I responded, "I am sorry you feel that way. I will play over here and if you change your mind &  say NICE things to me and play NICELY with me I would love to play with you."

She went on and played out other mean things, each time I would respond,

"I am sorry you feel that way, I will play over here and if you change your mind and would like to say NICE things to me and play NICELY with me I would love to play with you."

After a time we switched places and I was the mean child, only I decided I wanted to play with her after she told me my "I am sorry you feel that way", speech. We did this for quite some time, she really got into it and was so gracious when I changed my mind and wanted to play with her.

My biggest hope is that this kind of role play, "PRACTICING LIKE WE WILL PLAY", better equips her to to handle "mean girls", I don't want her to be a doormat nor do I want her to be a bully or just be mean back.  

Giving the other kids a chance to change their mind allows room for change and hopefully allows my children to be gracious and generous as well as firm as to how they will ALLOW others to treat them.
Linked to Better Mom Link & Growing Home

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