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…