Dear Miss Faith,
My 3 yo was really sick last week for about 5 days. During that period some of the rules were broken (like: she watched lots of cartoons… Drunk her chocolate milk with no breakfast… Etc). Now it’s very hard to bring her back to the “old regime”… She keeps saying that she is sick just because of the benefits she got. Any advice here?!…. Thanks!!!!
When your daughter says that she’s “sick” to try and get special treatment, what she’s looking for is that feeling of connection and being “special” that she got when she was under the weather. And you can give THAT to her, even if you don’t give her chocolate milk or let her watch cartoons! So instead of explaining that no, she’s not really sick, try “playing sick” with her instead. “Oh, no, you’re sick?! Come here, you poor little girl. I love you SO MUCH. Let me give you a THOUSAND snuggles.” Scoop her up and stroke her hair and rock her, pouring love onto her. She’ll probably love it for a moment and then want to get down. At that point you could let her down, or you could even carry the game a little farther: “Oh, no! You can’t get down, you’re sick! Let me keep taking care of you! Let me keep loving you! You can stay in my arms ALL DAY!” Really ham it up. This will be quite funny and likely she will finally tell you that she’s not really sick. You can pretend to be surprised, or you can pretend to be overjoyed: “My little girl is cured! Hooray!”
Obviously you won’t have time or space to play that game at every time (wanting chocolate milk at lunch, for example), but even there you could do a different version of it, by saying “yes” in your imagination: “You’re sick! Oh, no. A sick girl MUST have chocolate milk! Here you go!” And pretend to pour her some pretend chocolate milk. She will likely be disappointed that she’s not getting real chocolate milk, but you can say, “What? It’s not real? Let me taste it!” And pick up her cup and take a pretend sip quite loudly, then smack your lips. “Aaah! Yup! Tastes like chocolate milk to me!” Often kids will go for this and play pretend chocolate milk. If she really won’t go for it, then switch back to real life and be compassionate. “You’re remembering when you had real chocolate milk? That was lovely, wasn’t it? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could REALLY have chocolate milk every day?”
If you respond to her efforts for special treatment by saying YES to her desire to connect with you and be your special girl, I think you might have a bit of fun together, without actually doing the things you did while she was actually sick.
Warmly, ~Miss Faith
P.S. This question and answer were from the last Tele-Class. The next Tele-Class is starting day after tomorrow! Join us! Click here for more info.