Last week I wrote about how the toddler, my fiance and I get in knock down, drag out fights about Oreos after daycare, and my own experiences growing up with M&Ms, and how that molded the way I eat them to this day.
As someone who is very interested in sports, I am going to give you advice as if you were in a boxing match (or, for those of you younger than 40, and see boxing as a dead sport, I will give you advice as if you were in an MMA match).
In the red corner: You, the parent. You’re seasoned, have an age, height, weight, and reach advantage.
In the blue corner: The child. While the child may be younger and smaller, it has an advantage in lung capacity and stubbornness. Be careful, and don’t treat this as an obvious win for you.
Let's see what you can do to win the fight!
Know your opponent:
The most important part of any fight. Age/weight/demeanor are make or break when it comes to winning the fight.
What’s your opponents age? Since Luke is two-and-a-half, we need to go into the battle knowing he lives in the immediate future, and doesn’t really do “you can eat an Oreo later” very well. So, with him, we need to fight about the next 15 minutes. If your opponent is a little older, you can of course explain “you can have a snack as dessert, after you finish your vegetables.”
What’s your opponent’s demeanor? If s/he in a good or bad mood? We all know that kid’s personality can change in the blink of an eye, and if your child is in a bad mood, a more immediate remedy, like the after school Oreo, may be best for everyone.
Know your setting:
A crucial part of any fight is where are you? Your turf or your child’s? If your child is coming home for the snack, it’s your turf and you should take advantage of your home field advantage! Tell him or her you can have the snack after the room is clean, or the dishes are done, or he helps you clean up.
Going to your opponents home-field, as my fiance and I do with Luke, is a little tricky. As soon as he says “Oreo”, a half dozen toddlers scream in excitement and that could cripple your momentum. Try to take your foe away from the group, or
else you’re going to be on the wrong end of a numbers game!
Know your options:
In boxing it’s a right, left jab, uppercut or a killer combo. In the battle of after school snacks, it’s what you can offer. Maybe you’re out of Oreos (a mistake my fiance and I have made in the past) and that isn’t even an option. Or maybe you know your child loves grapes, and you just bought some this afternoon.
If you go into the tussle knowing what the options are, it helps you, since you can be proactive in the back and forth that happens in every fight.
The worst thing you can do in any fight is not being prepared. You need to be ready, since you know it’s going to happen. Am I surprised when Luke asks for Oreos? No. So I need to be ready when it comes up.
If your child comes home demanding a Snickers bar, be ready with fruit a day or two. If your child comes home an hour before dinner, you need to treat it differently than four hours before.
Take a deep breath and get ready for the battle. You can win it, I know it.
Next Blog: The winning, and somewhat healthy, snack I picked!
Matt Elder owns and operates i9 Sports, a youth sports league in Framingham. Their flag football and cheerleading program is taking registrations for its spring season, and plays every Sunday afternoon, where they have a practice and a game all in the same day. No weekday practices. Visit www.i9sports.com today for more details.