The world revolves around marketing. Even in parenting, it’s all about marketing. Don’t believe me? If I had a video feed into this computer, I would prove it.
Today, my kids really want to sled. They are on each other’s nerves and subsequently on mine. I’m trying to fold laundry before we leave but it’s almost impossible to get things done when i am dealing with this sort of infighting. Number 2 cries over Number 1 punching his arm. Number 3 whines about wanting to go to Florida because 5 weeks is too far away, and Number 4 is throwing the football up in the air in his own world, asking me to “Watch” every five seconds.
Marketing to the rescue. I call them all to the entryway. “It’s time for Survivor,” I say. I hand one of them a trash bag, another one a bucket and tell them that they are a team that needs to get through the basement in a half hour. If they survive their tasks of putting the cushions back on the couch, putting the toys and games away, and taking all the trash to the trash cans outside, they can get their prize: a trip to the local sledding hill.
Then the miracle of marketing happens, they come up with a full load of trash; they scurry around picking up toys and putting games in their cases; they even fold a few blankets. Number 4 even finds me to ask what else he can clean! No joke. I’m not sure how much longer this type of marketing will work for all four of my children. Number 1 is a TWEEN and has the attitude of a PMSing woman, so the strategy may need to change. He is too smart for his own good, and sees through this whole Survivor thing, knowing I’m going for the hard sell. He comes up and tells me it’s stupid and he is not going to work.
I try another marketing tactic: play on his strengths. “Hey, you know, you’re a great leader and I know if you go down there with a caaaaallllllm voice, you can lead your brothers in this whole clean-up process.”
He shoots back, “Yeah, right.”
“It’s true. I’ve seen the way you lead others and when you do, they listen. It will make the whole afternoon go so much better.”
He lashes out against Survivor. “You know that Survivor thing is just stupid and it’s not going to help me pick up any trash,” he says. Then he disappears… and the next thing I hear is, “Okay guys, where are we?”
Marketing 101 for parents. It works.