Member Post: I am struggling with “Nice” does not seem to work. Please put these pants on becomes a silly game. Which leads to my yuck where then have to get mean and resort to threats. I know she is being silly and wants to make a game of it, but I really need her to put on her freaking pants!!

Rachel’s Response: Yes — she does need to put on her freaking pants! Wouldn’t it be nice if they just did that?! I think every single one of us would agree with you.

And no, nice doesn’t work. 🙁

That’s because the reason she’s making it into a silly game is that kids’ brains are wired for stimulation, engagement, and novelty… and when they’re doing “boring” tasks (that they’ve done over and over), they will CREATE that stimulation. (And that’s why “nice” doesn’t work… it doesn’t offer enough stimulation.)

My biggest suggestion is to work WITH her brain instead of against it by helping to make that boring task more engaging. There’s a document that suggests many ways to do that — not only with getting dressed but with other activities as well! It’s on the website, but it’s also in the “files” tab of this group. It’s called “Ways to Engage Kids So They Don’t Misbehave.”

For example, you could ask her to get dressed with her tongue sticking out the whole time. That’s creating engagement. Eventually she’ll learn how to create engagement herself.

Keep in mind that this isn’t meant to make tasks “fun.” It’s meant to create less resistance by understanding how kids’ brains work and using that to get them to do what the heck they have to do!