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5 Ways To Distract Kids And Get Them To Do Your Bidding

The following was syndicated from Quora for The Fatherly Forum, a community of parents and influencers with insights about work, family, and life. If you’d like to join the Forum, drop us a line
What are some of your favorite parenting tricks?
The High Five
Toddlers love high fives. To them it’s like legalized hitting. And if it ever starts getting old, and it will, just make it a challenge for them. Right before they hit your hand, move it out of the way. Or start your hand too high for them to reach. Let them figure out how to get that precious high five.

Also, distraction. I prefer to go with the original “WHAT IS THAT?!?” It always give you about 2-3 seconds to do whatever you don’t want your kids to see you doing.

My dad was the master of the long distraction. If we were driving in the car and he saw a carnival or a circus coming up, he would divert our attention out the other window, often making up something for us to look for. “Hey kids, look out that window and tell me if you can see the buffalo … Keep looking it’s there … Oh we’ll must have been a tree stump.”

Simple Magic Tricks
These will either leave your kids amazed and thinking you truly are magical, or they will spend the next half hour trying to figure out how you did it. Either way you come out on top.

Make ’em laugh. They are kids. They love to laugh, and we love to hear it. If they have a “horrible” injury, like they bumped their head on two pillows, and can’t seem to get over it, make it funny. Give the pillow a time-out. Offer to get your child a new head. Or pretend the pillow is a ferocious monster that eats your face. Once they start laughing they will forget their “pain”

Reverse Psychology
This one really depends on the kid. Our oldest daughter didn’t fall for this one ever — too smart and stubborn. We quickly had to move on to phase 2; reverse reverse psychology. And she has actually started to figure this one out too. It might be time to move on to reverse reverse reverse psychology, which I don’t think is even possible.

All of these are for toddlers. Here is one more for the older kids. Another thing my dad was the king of.

The Threat Of Embarrassment
There is nothing teens are more afraid of than looking uncool. Luckily as parents we turned in our cool badge years ago. This imbalance of social status can be used to your advantage with out making you look like a bad parent. Personally I can’t wait until my kids are old enough for this one.

Michael Hennessy is a stay-at-home dad currently raising three kids. You can read more of his Quora posts here: