Let’s Play, “Yes, Let’s!”

“Let’s play”, she says.
“Yes let’s”, I say.

That’s the game: “Yes, let’s”. It’s an old drama game I used to play with my students back in my drama teacher days. Its purpose is to teach actors to accept situations offered them in improvisation situations rather than shutting down and rejecting possibilities. Every idea offered by one player must be accepted with open arms and hearts by the other participants, for example: “let’s pretend we’re on the moon”, “yes, let’s!”

Only she doesn’t know it’s a game… or that I’m consciously playing it.

I thought it might be worth a try after yesterday’s day of hell on earth with my girl. And after my letter of quittance, another day dawned and I was still in the job. We needed a new approach: o new day called for a fresh start.

I realise that control is a major issue for my daughter (and of course me, in fact most of us – see here for a great post on Letting go of control someone shared with me yesterday). She struggles with constipation – a physical manifestation of control. She is three, learning about how much control she has/ wants/ could have. She is a middle child. Her baby sister quite close in age. She is in need of feeling in control. Of being the leader. And I think this could be contributing to her furies.

So we went to the playground and I played “yes, lets”. She was in charge. Flitting from swing to slide, to hopscotch to playing pirates. And rather than resist, or saying “mama wants to sit down, why don’t you play by yourself.” or looking after a baby (who was asleep), I was right there with her. With every request either with my voice or actions I affirmed her desires: yes, lets. No resistance, resentment, control. I was right there with her, waiting for her lead.

Because it struck me how often children this age hear: no, not now, leave that, wait… what power to give her an hour of yes.

I’m hoping it’ll contribute to a yes culture from her…

  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous06-21-2011

    Melly sounds remarkably like É – and your letter last night sounds remarkably like where I am right now, and I have only one to cope with. I’m with you Lucy. If you DO find any magic breakthroughs, please share. Love to all there, Sx

  2. Earthenwitch
    Earthenwitch06-21-2011

    Really like this idea and will be remembering it myself tomorrow. Mine too is three, and we have similar struggles daily, so while I try to think ‘yes’ as a default, I fear there is more ‘in a minute’, or ‘does that seem like a good idea?’ than I’d like…

  3. Karien
    Karien06-21-2011

    Like you, I wrote that quitting note in my mind a million times, but, yet again, another day dawned. It always will. Nice to see you are making it work. I once did something similar, a ‘yes’ day, where I never said no to anything my kids wanted. And, surprise surprise, it did not go to bad. I mainly used i for food, as that was the main struggle at the time, and we did end up with fish fingers, baked beans and peas, but hey, they even had veg. And I was so relaxed that evening. Not sure why I don’t do it every day?

  4. Laura
    Laura06-22-2011

    This is great, sometimes we do have to take a step back and listen what we are really saying to our kids. And sometimes we need to listen to what we say to ourselves (no we don’t play, we don’t sing and dance and explore). find something that works well with Rebe is entering into the imaginary game, but not by being bossed into a role, but by choosing my own within the game. For example, No I’m not going to be a customer in the cafe…I’m going to be the old granny knitting here in the corner and you can look after me… That is a good way of carrying on with what you’re doing without having to say no to play. can’t wait for the hols, when we can do some getting together x xx

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