If your child finds it difficult to verbalise why they're upset, or you often find them getting frustrated with the fact that they don't have any power within the parent-child relationship, role play is a great way to get them to explore their feelings and help them deal with their frustrations. For example, a simple role reversal game between parent and child can help the child feel so much more powerful, allowing them to understand communication better and even boost their confidence by miles. This simple game can help your child suspend reality for even just a few minutes, and change their behaviour for years. So, next time your child seems as though they require help with something, spend a few hours playing one of these great role reversal games. Playing is the new parenting!
Role Reversal Games You Can Play With Your Kids
There are different games you can play depending on which struggles you feel your child is dealing with the most, or which areas they need to feel that they have power. You can adapt each game as you see fit so that you feel it will work the best for you and your children. Each one is simple, great for playing as much or as little as you'd like. So, have a look and see which suggestions work for you, then get ready to play, have fun, and be silly.
Follow the Leader:
It can be hard sometimes, for your children to do the things that you tell them they should or should not do. So, why not switch it up a little. Instead of your child following whatever it is that you're doing, let them become the leader. Follow the leader is a fun game where you simply do everything your child wants to do. If they want to play in the garden and hunt for worms, you'll be doing the same. If they want to climb up the stairs on all fours, get on your knees behind them. As long as it's nothing too dangerous, give your child their autonomy and power back by letting them do exactly what they want, and they'll have even more fun seeing you act silly right alongside them. This reversal game can also work for older children, too. Join your teenager in their Netflix marathon, or play the same video game as them. Take the time to let them know that they have as much power in their own lives as you do.
Parent for a Day:
This one is perfect for older children too, but can still be used for younger ones. Let your child take over the parenting for the day. If you have a teenager, make sure to act like they would and let them see how they would deal with that behaviour. This opens up communication and can also allow them to understand you better as a parent, but still lets them experience the power that they need to feel in control of situations. It could also be fun to give them extra tasks for their day as a parent: maybe they can plan the meals or come up with fun activities for everyone to do that day. Playing simple games that challenge the way they usually learn or experience life can really help your teenager to open up. You can get to know them better, and it could help you as a parent to see what they need.
Sometimes, for younger kids, the way they need to experience power is to see their parents lose theirs. What better way to do that than by acting silly and allowing your child to win at something. Monster chase is a great game to play in times when your child is frustrated by something, and it always helps to get them giggling. Laughter is the best medicine, after all. What you need to do is simple, just pretend to be a monster and chase them around the house or garden. Make sure to fall over a lot, the more dramatic the better, and every single time you get close to catching them they somehow escape your clutches. This is a funny game that helps create a narrative wherein the parents aren't always bigger, stronger, or in a higher position of power. And it's a good game to play to get some exercise.
Occasionally, it can feel like your kids are attached to you at the hip. Clinginess is normal in children, but sometimes it can make it difficult for them to do things easily as they grow up. Things, like going to school, or even staying home with a sitter while their parents go out, can become hard for them to deal with. But, there are simple games that can really help your child learn that it's okay to be apart. One of them is the clingy game. This is easy enough to play and doesn't require too much effort, all you have to do is cling to your child. Literally. Gently hold onto their legs, arms or simply follow them around like a shadow until they let you know that it's time to let go. In this scenario, the child will see you behaving the same way that they do, and they'll have the power to recognise and say that they're good with being alone for a while. Soon enough they'll be able to spend the night in their own bed without too much fuss.
Teacher for a Day:
This game works for older children, as well as younger children. But it can also be good to play as a family, for extra entertainment and benefits. If your kids find it tricky to concentrate and do their homework, or maybe they aren't listening as well as they should when you're trying to teach them something, let them be the teacher for the day. This is one of the best role reversal games you can play as a family. The parents, and your older kids if you have them, become the students and your little ones teach you everything they think you should know. While you play, try misbehaving a little, maybe throw a tantrum and say you don't want to do the work. The sillier you are, the better time you'll all have, and your child will feel as though they've gotten their power back. For ideas to make the game more interesting, ask your child to teach you one new fact by the end of the game or persuade them to read you a book. This way, they're still learning, but it doesn't feel as though they are being forced into it.
Natalie has lived in London her whole life. Growing up her favourite days were the ones she got to spend exploring the halls of the Natural History Museum or running around pretending to be Peter Pan in the Diana Memorial Playground. Nowadays, however, she’d be more likely seen reading, listening to her favourite music, or hunting for special gems in the countless secondhand bookshops across the city.