Ever wake up in the morning with thoughts of "I don't wanna grow up!?" Let's face it, adulting can be hard. Peter Pan had a point when he declared, "I won't grow up! 'Cause growing up is awfuller than all the awful things that ever were."
We all have those certain days when we'd give anything to snuggle in with a fuzzy stuffed animal and sleep the day away, or to spend the day in a make believe world of dolls, trains, and building blocks.
So while it can be very frustrating when our children resist some of the added responsibilities that come with growing up, it will be easier on them, and on you as the parent, if you try to relate to their feelings rather than coming at them with a "too bad, life is hard" sort of attitude.
There are three things you can do that will help your child conquer Peter Pan syndrome and make life easier for everyone in your family.
First, Start When Your Children are Young
Ever find yourself saying to your children something like, "You're old enough to clean the toilet now?" Put that way, who among us wouldn't react with "I won't grow up!?"
If you start giving your child age appropriate responsibilities early on, you can avoid bringing on a mindset that growing up involves doing all kinds of undesirable things. This will go a long ways towards eliminating a lot of the pushback you'll get from your kids when you add responsibilities and expectations.
For example, a child who is two can be taught how to use a clothes hamper, and that special place we put our shoes when we take them off.
A child who is three can take on small tasks like feeding the dog. These may require a little help from mom or dad, but that's all the better since your child still thinks you're cool at this age and likes to follow you around and be helpful.
Second, Tie Bigger Responsibilities to a Positive Consequence
You may not be a fan of providing rewards for things that your children should be expected to do as humans contributing to your family and the larger society. That's good, because that's not what you'll be doing here.
It's a fact of life that many undesirable things we do have a positive consequence, and that's why we do them. We don't like to clean the toilet, but "Eewww" if we never do.
Now with kids, it's a little different. Most kids have no problem with a dirty toilet, a messy room, a hungry dog . . .
So, you'll have to be a little creative with what the positive consequence of the behavior is. To do this, it's best to think like your child. If he loves to ride his scooter all over the house, approach clean up by saying, "This would be a great time to ride your scooter, let's get everything off the floor so you have plenty of room to do that."
With older children, consider doing an allowance. (There are pros and cons to this, you decide). Giving an allowance mimics adulthood in a powerful way -- you work, you get paid. This only really works if you do make it a consequence rather than a reward. Don't go into it with "you'll get your allowance IF you do your work," but rather, "you'll get your allowance WHEN you do your work."
If you'll have a "when" attitude rather than an "if" attitude, it will teach your child to see the positive consequences of her behavior, rather than viewing the outcome as an optional reward that she may choose to forego some days.
Finally, Focus on the Benefits of Growing Up
Yes, there is some drudgery to adulthood, but growing up is awesome in a lot of ways. Let's face it, you can choose to eat ice cream before dinner if you want, and no one can stop you!
So when your child is struggling with some added responsibility of growing up, work with him to see the advantages of getting older, and how those actually outweigh the additional responsibilities.
No, I'm not going to come in every morning and make sure you're awake and fix your lunch for you before school. But, you're old enough to have your own cell phone where you can set a pleasant-sounding alarm, and you can (within reason!) make your own choices about what you want to put in your lunchbox.
If you've followed the first two steps and started early with small responsibilities, and tied in positive consequences, you child will have an even easier time seeing how the benefits of growing up outweigh the additional burdens.
KidsPartyCharacters.com Can Help!
One good way to motivate your child to keep up with her responsibilities is to focus on future events. Who wouldn't want to have a clean room to show Princess Ariel when she shows up at your birthday party? Or a dog poop-free backyard so you can play tag at your party with Captain America?
Again, focus not on the character coming to your child's party as a reward, but just talk about how your child will want to present herself and her space when her favorite character is around.
Browse our collection of over 200 popular characters now at kidspartycharacters.com and motivate your child into action by booking her favorite character for her next party. We have packages to fit any party, including multiple characters, face painting and balloon artists.
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