Connect with kids before making requests

Connect with kids before making requests

Bedtime Board Game was born out of necessity. It was a solution to the problem founders Michael and Kelly (and so many other parents!) faced trying to help their young son willingly get ready for bed. If they could make their nightly routine feel more like a fun activity and less like a list of demands, maybe their son would actually be happy to pick up his toys and brush his teeth!

The idea worked! And we love hearing from the scores of Bedtime Board Game families who now say the same. We also really love it when this concept is backed up by experts, as it is in this article by Erin Leyba, a Ph.D and licensed clinical social worker. 

In the piece, The simple yet powerful way to get your kids to cooperate, Leyba writes that each request of a child is also an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with him or her.

“One powerful tool to get kids to do things with more cooperation and ease is to use ‘relationship before request’—connect with your child for a few minutes before you ask them to do something. Not only does this make your day go smoother, it also lets you build warmth and strengthen bonding.”

Two of Leyba’s tips especially ring true for our team:

Ask 'May I join you?'

Kids will be way more likely to go brush their teeth or clean up their books after you’ve joined them in play for a just few minutes. When kids are engrossed in what they’re doing, ask, “May I join you?” and then follow the child’s lead (let them be in charge).

Give Ownership

Kids love a sense of power and control. By giving them a bit of ownership in the process (of doing the next thing), they are more likely to cooperate.

Bedtime Board Game families have found that the game hits both of these notes. The process lets parents join young kids in play (especially when it comes to Cloud Card conversations). 

And children have a great chance to own their bedtime routine when they choose the order in which to arrange their activities on the game board. Families can customize the game even more by filling in the blank Activity Cards. Say your little one can’t sleep until he tells each pet goodnight or perfectly arranges each stuffed animal to her liking – those can become game activities, too!

As the article concludes:

“Spending just 5 minutes connecting before you ask kids to do something will help your child complete the next thing with more cooperation and way less resistance. It’s also a form of sensitive caregiving, which research suggests, is a strong predictor of an individual’s social competence and academic achievement, not only during childhood and adolescence, but all the way through to adulthood.”

At Bedtime Board Game, we couldn’t agree more.

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