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The day chocolate flooded the streets

Two things that motivate children, and how to use them to get your children to want to cooperate with you.

This morning, I discovered an old newspaper article from 1919.

The article starts "Gutters Run Fudge; Urchins Run Miles to Chocolate Fire - River of Molten Candy Blocks Sewers and Floods Streets as Rockwood Factory Burns."

Apparently, on 12 May 1919, a chocolate factory in Brooklyn burned down.

As it burned, a mixture of molten chocolate and butter spilled out of the factory and onto the streets.

The sugar and butter formed a crust that blocked the street's storm drains, causing the streets to flood with a delicious chocolate fudge mixture...enough chocolate to float a rowboat on.

The newspaper describes it beautifully: "It flowed through the street like molten lava with a foamy cap of white formed by the sugar and butter that rose."

The news about this wonder quickly spread, and hundreds of children swarmed to take part in the "clean up".

"Little fellows fell on their knees before the oncoming flood and dipped it up greedily with grimy fingers," the newspaper article goes on.

Reading about this, I imagined the look on my kids' faces if they saw a river of chocolate and sugar flowing past them. I don't think I would be able to keep them away from such a treasure.

Sometimes it can be difficult to understand my kids, but I know for sure that there are two things they like: eating candy, and playing.

And both of these can be useful tools to get your kids to cooperate. When I want my kids to go to the doctor, I use candy as an incentive.

But the most useful tool of the two is playfulness.

When we asked Julie King, the co-author of the best-selling books How To Talk So LITTLE Kids Will Listen and How To Talk When Kids Won’t Listen for her best strategy to get kids to listen and cooperate, she said:

You asked me for one of my top favorite strategies for little kids. My favorite strategy is to be playful.

Julie then went on to explain why playfulness is such a powerful tool to get kids to cooperate:

It can calm their nervous system. It doesn’t create the resistance that ordering them around can create. Kids love to play. That’s sort of their language, right? That’s what they want to do and that’s how they learn.

Julie King

But I have found the main problem using playfulness is that it is difficult to be playful when you are stressed. Sometimes you just don't feel playful.

In the interview, Julie shares a very simple technique that you can use to be playful even when you don't feel playful or see yourself as the "playful type".

Julie also explains how to prevent tantrums before they happen, and how to manage your own negative emotions when your children start behaving badly (very useful advice!).