My son is five.
And instructions don’t sit well with him.
“Instructing” him to do something has the same result as me asking the pot plant outside the kitchen door to cook dinner. Or asking his father to hand over R780 so I can buy the latest “it” eye cream. Or “thinny- chin- chin” face cream. Or knee-wobble-reducing cellulite treatment.
It ain’t gonna happen.
So over the years of getting to know this son of mine I’ve come up with a few strategies to get him to move his body from one place to another place he doesn’t particularly want to be in. Like the bath. When Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is on. Repeat nr 7 he has seen many many many times. But still wants to watch for “5 more minutes……pleeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaase…….”
When he was younger and lighter I could just pick him up and carry him to where I wanted him to be.
Being five has put a firm end to that.
So here is what works:
1. Give a warning that bath time is going to be happening soon. Give him time to adjust to the idea. Like this : “2 minutes to bath time!” in a friendly but firm voice. If he starts protesting, ignore and leave the room.
2. After 2 minutes say : “OK. Bath time!” ( friendly but firm. Control the inner hysteria building up). If you get the pot plant effect because he’s staring at Mickey and pointedly ignores you, grab the remote and switch of the DSTV. Instant control. ( for now). Place remote on a high surface.
3. Use bath salts or food colouring to turn the bath water green, blue,red, whatever. Instant fascination and glee.
4. Also try switching off the bathroom light and lighting a few candles. Again, instant fascination and general calm down. ( mother AND 5 year old. )
5. Add 2 drops of pure essential Lavender Oil to the water. Again, instant calm. ( mother at least)
OK. So he’s in. You’re halfway there.
But waaiiiiiiiiiiiiit……….now that he’s in the bath he doesn’t want to get out, now does he? Because getting out means moving his body from one place to another because his mother says so, doesn’t it? And, being five, THAT IS NOT ON.
Sneaky ways to encourage a 5 year old body to get out of the bath:
1. Give a warning that bath time is about to come to an end. ” Out the bath in 2 minutes!”
2. Warm up his towel over the heater and tell him to stand up before it gets cold. Works wonders in winter.
3. Use his father. As in “Daddy is waiting for you to come help with….” or ” Daddy is waiting for the bath so that you and him can go……….”
4. Use his sister. As in ” She’s already in the TV room having some……….” or ” She’s finished watching Teletubbies and says you can have the remote…”
5. If all else fails, use bribery and corruption. As in “Mommy has a special surprise for you when you’ve finished your bath”. ( a new bottle of bubbles, an old toy you’ve discovered behind the couch, a sweet, a chocolate, 3 sips of Coke, WHATEVER. This child now needs to get OUT OF THE BATH)
6. Almost forgot. If you lit some candles, use them. As in “Get out the bath so you can blow out the candles for us.”
Right. You’ve seen to it that your child is clean.
Now to to get the hang of sibling rivalry. As in “She’s touching my toys! She’s BROKEN MY TOWER! She…sniff……….she……………..sniff………..SHE…….!!!!!!”
Deep breaths. In. Out.