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California American Mothers with kids

Playful Parenting: Discipline with Humor

May 30, 2024

California American Mothers with kids

(courtesy: California American Mothers)
How many of us have driven spoonfuls of pureed beets into our babies mouths while making ridiculous faces and either train or airplane noises, sometimes with mixed results?  That is playful parenting.


I remember, when fighting a toddler to get dressed, pretending that his hand had gotten lost inside the sleeve.  Peeking down the hole, I’d chant: “Where is it?  Where is Joey’s hand.”  Then when it comes out, I would jump back in surprise, sometimes pretending that it had hit me.  “There it is.  I found your hand!”  They could hardly wait to hide their other hand in the other sleeve.  Being playful kept it from turning into a contest of wills.


Parenting guru Jane Nelsen says humor is a key tool to successful discipline.  It helps break the negative mood not just for children, but for grown-ups too.  It’s a lot less stressful, and a lot more fun, to use humor and play to connect with your child as you set limits and establish discipline.  It helps build a connection between parent and child.  “When everyone’s stressed out and overloaded—that’s when we need play the most,” says psychologist Larry Cohen, PhD.  It’s almost impossible to remain angry with someone who is making you laugh.

Read more about Playful Parenting on the California American Mother’s blog page…