We all know that detaching our little angels from the screen can be a challenge. When the weather gets hot and school is no longer an effective rationale for why they cannot watch that 1000th episode of Degrassi, it is our job — nay, our DUTY — as parents to get a little creative in order to gently prod (or firmly push) our offspring out of the house to enjoy the wonders of summer. Need a few tips to convince your kiddo to get the heck out? Here are some creative ideas:
1. Hold their favorite toy/TV hostage. The only way they can get it back is to earn the money via lemonade stand or washing your car. Cleaning the gutters is an acceptable alternative.
2. Tell them they either go outside for the next 6 hours to play (with or without you) or it’s family fun clean the bathroom time where the toilet is their responsibility — and that includes inside the bowl.
3. All electronics will magically lose their batteries and/or plugs for 48 hours. Say a freak solar storm hit, you don’t know what’s wrong but darn! That’s just too bad.
4. Have an older kid? Buy a faux fur coat. Proceed to talk to it, pet it, stroke it, and tell your child if they don’t leave the house you might need to take Kiki the coat for a walk around the neighborhood and introduce “her” to all their friends as your new family pet.
5. Cook liver. Lots and lots of liver. Close every window in the house and throw in some onions to really get a stench going. Mmmmmm.
6. Sweat them out — turn off the AC and crank up the oven baking. If it’s cooler outside then in, out they’ll go!
7. Buy super soakers/sprinklers. Who doesn’t like soaking other people with water? It’s awesome. Little kids also love sprinklers, so why not? You can usually get them pretty cheap. Add some washable watercolors to the water in a super soaker and let them soak each other. Or the side of your house.
8. That doesn’t work for you? Freeze some random tiny plastic toys in an ice cube tray and send them outside with a toy to try and “break out” all the little plastic pieces. Have a race to see who can get them out fastest.
9. Bribery. Plain and simple, promise your children that if they just get the heck outta dodge, you will cook their favorite dinner/let them eat ice cream til they puke, or maybe even have that sleepover you’ve been avoiding like the plague.
10. Play “Purple Rain” on a loop. Sing it at the top of your lungs until all offspring have exited the building. For teenagers, yelling the lyrics to “I Touch Myself” is guaranteed to make them flee the building at a rate faster than you have seen them move since they were 3-year-olds trying to grab a popsicle. Success rate: 100%.
PURPLE RAIN, PURPLE RAIN. Really, I just started singing that very loudly, and my darling precious 4-year-old covered her ears and screamed “STOP IT, YOU CAN’T SING!!!!” I told her I would be singing all day, loudly and off-key. She ran into the yard. Mission completed.