Convincing Your Preschooler to Do Things: Tips from a French Mary Poppins

Article Author Amandine with FamilyAs an experienced au pair, I know how challenging it can be to get young children to do the every day things you need them to do. I love being with children and learning their individual personalities and interests.

I believe the easiest – and most successful – way to motivate children to do things is to use my imagination to make it fun. A combination of creativity and offering them choices that accomplish what you want to achieve lets them feel some level of control.


Here are my tips:

Kids love pretending to be one of their super-heros, or their preferred character in an animation movie. You can pretend to be a race car, faster than fastest lightning, and ask your child which character you could be.

Turn the cleaning into a fun game: Put a song on while cleaning up the toys and when you stop the song, kids have to stop cleaning and don’t move until the music goes back on. Start again until the room is clean 🙂 You can also use the “123 soleil”; hide your eyes and count to 3 and when your open your eyes they have to stop cleaning and stand without moving. They have to clean up everything while you are not looking.

Make your kid choose an animal he wants to be and act like it. If he wants to be a lion, he has to roar and be fast to clean his room, go to the bath… If he wants to be a bird, he has to pretend he is flying. Be imaginative and do it with your child, he will be happier.

Bath time can be challenging… Try to have two different kinds of soap or shampoo and let him choose the one he wants to use. You can also teach him how to make bubbles.

Use the game that your kid loves like “Eenie, meeny, miny, moe” for taking medication, you can make your child guess in which hand is the medication.

If your child doesn’t want to go out, tell him things you can see outside. Have a goal, instead of telling him you are going out, you can say let’s go find some pine cones, flowers, or count how many firetrucks, squirrels we can see.

If they don’t brush their teeth long enough, you can try to put on a song and they will be done when you stop the song. You can also use the app “Cavity Dragons” which is great to teach children how important tooth brushing is. Tell them to brush the Cavity Dragons away! 🙂

• Sometimes, kids don’t want to break their construction to clean up. Offer him to take a picture of it, or let him take it if he’s old enough to do it by himself. Show him the picture and then when he cleans up, he knows he has a picture of it if he wants to make it again.



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