Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Seat belt races

The truth is, my kids have been beating me for years.

If you want to make that sentence sound worse, you could even say they've been beating me with belts!  I started Seat Belt Races with my daughter when she was very young, and it worked so well I've done it with all my kids.  This is my second favorite kid-autonomy trick (the other is drawing on their shoes).

The contest is to see who can put on seat belts first -- we do this every time we get into the car.  An extremely important part of the rules is that this race is kids-versus-adults, not about individuals.  (This way my kids help each other, rather than fighting each other, in the back seat).  Another important tradition is that, whenever the kids get their seat belts on before I do,  I have to pretend to be bummed out.

When my kids were very little and just learning to put on their belts, I would be a little slow on purpose with mine.  But now that the boys are pre-teens, they're very speedy.  (I could whine that I have car keys and other things that slow me down).  In fact, just to keep the contest interesting, every once in a while I "cheat" by unlocking my door and not theirs so I can win the race -- but, wow! you should hear them ratting me out to my husband later that day!

I know that some of my friends have kids who are reluctant to put their seat belts on.  In my house, it's the opposite.  In fact, when I'm driving their friends in my car, my boys will make sure that all the kids have belts on -- I never have to do that myself.

I have even (slyly) lured my boys away from events we've been at too long for my liking.  They'll ask, "Can I just look at this one more thing?", and I'll say a little too sweetly, "Ohhkayyy, I'll just, um, head back to the car and wait for you there."  And they'll say to each other, "Oh, snap!  She's going to win the seat belt race!" and they make a dash for the car.  Of course, I have to pretend to hurry back to the car, too.  And when they beat me, I'm bummed out once again.  Darn.

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