Top Ten: Ways to Get Your Kid to Smile

I’ve decided to add a little variety to the ol’ blog by doing a top-ten list on each tenth day. (I decided this last night, and then realized that it was the 29th and that meant a post today!!!)

Here’s the first!

Top Ten Ways to Get Your Kid to Smile (try any or all in any or all circumstances…one of them is bound to work!)

10. Tickle–the ol’ standby. But you might find a ‘tickle spot’ on  your child that you didn’t know was there (my kids’ is behind their knees in their ‘knee pits’). But beware! They may retaliate…

9. Make a silly face–another ol’ standby, but it works wonderfully in quiet settings. Waiting in line behind a customer who is taking FOREVER, but you don’t want to set a bad example by complaining about it…start the funny face game. Or, if your child is some distance away from you, walking into a dreaded appointment, riding the dreaded bus, walking the dreaded dog…that’s a good time to make a memorable face to see his/her face light up.

8. Make a silly noise. Not just a potty noise, though some families are more keen on those than others. Bark like a dog, howl like a wolf, honk like a goose, spit like a giraffe.  Imitate a fire engine or a trash truck. I bet the kids will join in with you.

7. Hand puppet–no sock required. We do this on car trips. The front seat passenger will talk to the back seat passengers with his/her hand. It looks kinda like a duck, but the voice makes it whatever you want it to be. Tip your hand to the side to make it look as though the puppet is cocking its head to listen to any responses. This trick also works over the back of couches, over the side of bunk beds, in front of shopping carts…wherever your hand can find an audience.

6. Word play–Rhyming games are fun and educational, but think one step ahead of your children. You may end up blushing at new-found expletives instead of laughing the blues away. This game pretty much ends up with potty talk inevitably, but it brings gales of laughter along the way.

5. Feign ignorance–‘Mommy, guess what I did at school today???’ ‘You ate crayons?’ ‘Nooooooo!!!’

‘You raced camels down the halls?’ ‘Noooooooo…(smiles starting)’

‘You sprouted wings and flew to the moon!’ ‘No!!! (laughter achieved)

4. Feign disbelief–similar to #4, but taking the opposite side of what your child is saying. (Some kids don’t jive with this…know your audience.)

‘Mommy, I built this all by myself!’ ‘No you didn’t!’

‘Yes I did!’ ‘No, I think you had the dog help you!’

‘I really did!’ ‘Nooooo, you hired a construction team!’

3. Burst into song–My stoic father did this ONE TIME when I was a kid, and it still sticks with me. He began singing ‘Searchin’…gonna find her…’ while opening all the kitchen cabinets. It definitely made me smile…still does. (  I also told my kids the other day, while watching ‘Frozen’ that the next time they started to argue with each other, they needed to do it in song, like Elsa and Anna did. Singing is always a tension breaker.

2. Dance–anywhere, anytime…Kids arguing? Waltz into the room with the laundry basket and see what happens. Time to go to bed but they don’t want to? Grab ’em and tango to the bedroom. They don’t want to get dressed in the morning? Salsa those clothes right over to them and boogie their little bodies into them. See if the moves aren’t contagious…

1. Attack with kisses–Even my son, who is at the age of resisting affection, starts giggling when I’m kissing his hair, his cheeks, his ears, his toes, his elbows…all while he’s making his argument for why he’s grumpy. No one can stay grouchy when they’re being showered with love.

So there you go. Tried and true. Try and see what works for you. AND, share any ideas you have! I’d love to add to my repertoire!


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