Children love playing games. Whether playing hide ‘n seek, or engaged in an entertaining round of “chase-me-around-the-kitchen-table- before-you-force-me-to-put-on-pants,” there is little more frustrating than trying to physically locate and/or contain a child in your own home. And, as many parents have learned, it is extremely difficult to apprehend a child that does not want to be caught. Years of experience have shown that the best way to gather children is to play by a different set of rules—you must get the child to come to you. So the next time you need to get ready for church, or the doctor’s office, or even if you’re just checking up after extended periods of suspicious silence, try these surefire tactics to make even the most stubborn child magically appear:
Tiptoe into the kitchen, open the pantry, and try to extract one potato chip from the bag as quietly as humanly possible. There he is.
Go to the bathroom. *For this to work, you must really commit. Sitting fully-clothed on top of the toilet seat only has a 22% response rate. To increase your rate of success, bring a magazine.
In fact, opening a book of any type will usually yield the desired response. Something about the sound of pages opening must activate a child’s natural and instinctive desire to learn.
Go into any room or closet with a door and lock it. This also works on dogs.
Call a customer service line. *The child will only appear once you’ve been taken off of hold, so if you called your home warranty or cell phone provider, this method could take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours.
Try ringing the doorbell to the house. As long as the children didn’t hear you exit the home, they should all come running from every corner of the house. *This does not work on husbands.
Brew a pot of coffee. Take your sweet time making it to your exact specifications. Breathe in and fill your lungs with the warm aroma. Now…put your lips to the mug and take one satisfying gulp. If your child hasn’t appeared directly, by this point you should be able to hear the faint cries from some distant bathroom of a child needing to be wiped.
Hopefully one of these methods will provide a useful and consistent method for you to wrangle your children. You might find that different strategies work better on different kids, so make sure to mix it up a bit, and try multiple techniques to see what works best for you.