Friday, February 8, 2013

The Game Plan

We had a Superbowl party and invited 25 of our closest friends and family. Most of them have children and the oldest among them is 5. We hired a sitter to help manage the chaos but I wanted to make sure my oldest was prepared for the onslaught before it began. My sister had done some role playing with her five year old to help him deal with a situation at school so I decided to give it a shot.

He woke up from his nap excited about the party. At least until I mentioned the "S" word. Sharing. "You know you have lots of friends coming over, right," I started, trying to set the scene. "And they will really love all your toys. Are there any you want to put up that they can't play with?" I asked. My mom had always done that with us and I remember really thinking about which thing meant the most. My son, however, had a different approach.

He started gathering up everything in sight. "Yeah, I'm glad you said that, Mommy. They can't play with this or this or that or this thing..." he announced. 

"Wait, honey," I said patiently. "One thing. You can pick one thing."  I decided to jump into the role play with both feet before I lost momentum. "When one of the kids asks to play with one of your toys, you will say, 'Sure!' Got it?" I asked him. He agreed so I pretended to be a kid.

"Can I play with your brand new bike?? PLEEEEASE?" I said in a high pitched voice. "Well, you are way too big for my bike, Mommy, so probably not," he said. Guess the whole role play idea wasn't as obvious as I thought.

"No, I am pretending to be a kid. Let's try this again. Can I play with your magnet trains? Huh? Can I? Can I?"

"Probably not," he said with authority.

"Honey, let's try again. You have to say, 'Sure' no matter what I ask for, ok?" I said trying very hard not to pull my hair out.

"Can I play with your dump truck in the dirt?"

"Ummm....sure?" he said.

Good enough. I took it. "Nice job, babe! That's exactly what you say!" 

Amazingly, he did let all the kids play with his toys. I didn't even hear about one fight.
Sometimes you just can't anticipate bad behavior, but in this situation, I knew that there was a great potential for danger.  I was so glad that we both felt prepared and that the expectations were very clear. I think the role play approach has validity even if the process can be a bit painful at times. Do you? Has it worked for you?


  1. Ababysitterforasuperbowlparty? That's all I got out of this!!!! Lol

    1. Hopefully it serves you well at your next party. Believe me, it's worth it to have a little help every once in awhile! All the best to you!


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