When I was little, I remember saying that I wanted to be a grown-up and then my parents telling me to just enjoy being a kid.
Of course, now, I understand what they meant by that!
I mean, sometimes, I’d give anything to go back to being a kid!
But when my 4-year-old informed me that he wanted to be a grown-up, I was taken aback!
“You’re only 4!” I exclaimed. “Don’t you want to just play and have fun?!”
He went on about all of the things that he wanted to do that only grown-ups could do.
I tried to make it clear that it really wasn’t much fun being a grown-up.
He didn’t believe me, of course, until I took the following steps and truly showed him that it wasn’t that much fun!
If you’re little one is wishing to be a grown-up and you’re ready to reveal the cold-hard truth about adult livelihood, try doing the following:
1. Give a Synopsis of Adult Life
Now, you don’t have to get into depressing and utter agonizing detail about what it is like to be like us!
Just inform your young one that being a grown-up means that there is very little time to play and a whole lot of work that has to be done.
You can talk about how your child may want to play Hide-n-Seek or pretend to be a monkey, but when they are grown-up, they can’t just stop and do that.
Being an adult means cleaning the house and going to work.
It means making very unfun phone calls and having to change diapers.
As a grown-up, you have to make certain that all of your work is done before you can play and usually by then, it is time for bed.
Give your child a nice, brief glimpse into life as an adult and watch the wheels turn.
If your child is still insistent on wanting to be all grown-up, (as mine still was) check out step number two!
2. Shift Safe Responsibilities to Your Child
It’s time to say, “Ok, go ahead! You be the parent!”
Give your child safe, grown-up responsibilities to do.
Obviously, you’re not going to hand your kid the keys to the car!
Depending on your child’s age, some safe responsibilities might be: folding laundry, doing dishes, calling Aunt Millie or sweeping the floor.
If you need some ideas, you can click here.
Now it may seem as though you are simply giving your child chores to do, but the only difference is that they are chores that don’t stop!
And there is no room to stop and have fun.
Also, they are not going to be getting tokens or stickers or an allowance for doing any of those things!
We don’t get anything fun for doing grown-up stuff, do we?
So, in this instance, why should your child?
Remember, you are giving your child a true snapshot of what it is like to be 6ft tall with a true To-Do List!
When I did this with my son, I had him go and get clothes for his baby sister and left him with the challenge of trying to get her dressed!
(Of course, you always want to be around in case you need to intervene for safety reasons)
But it was fun watching him make the attempts and to see all of the energy that it took for him just to put on one of her socks only to see her kick it off on him!
He couldn’t fold clothes, so I had him put away all of the laundry.
After a few trips back and forth from the bedrooms to the laundry pile, he would whine, “Ugh, I’m tired!”
When he tried to lay down on the couch, I coached him through.
“Nope! When you’re a grown-up, you can’t just lay down on the couch! You have to keep putting away the laundry!”
It was interesting, to say the least, to watch him bear the burden of adulthood!
3. Be a Kid!
While your child is engaging in all of the daunting, daily activities of being a grown-up, this is the fun part!
YOU get to be the kid!
Whip out some toy cars and sit and play!
Where’s those cool magnetic tiles that you saw your kid playing with earlier and thought it would be cool to play with those, too?
Sit and chill!
Be a kid again!
If there are other children in the house, invite them to play with you!
Your child will see all of the fun that you are all having while he/she will be left to attend to chores.
Make it a Little More Life-Like!
If you really want to show your child what it is like to be an adult, you can request things from your child as your child would request from you!
Ask for a glass of juice!
Ask your child for a snack!
Is there a superhero figure sitting on the counter and you don’t feel like getting up to go get it?
Have your child bring it to you!
Whatever your child would ask from you, this is your turn to ask it from your child!
Don’t be shy!
You are a kid now and your child is the parent!
Moments like this won’t happen again until your 80 and your child is actually all grown-up taking care of you!
4. Talk Them Through!
As I had briefly mentioned above, I wouldn’t let my son give up!
When he started moaning and groaning about how “tired” he was and how he “just couldn’t do anymore” (which, mind you, was probably the first 5 minutes into all of this) I reminded him that grown-ups can’t quit!
“Ryan, what would happen if mommy decided that she just didn’t feel like giving you a snack?”
Questions like this get them thinking…
Maybe what mommies and daddies do shouldn’t be taken for granted, eh?
“But I’m so tired!” he’d say back.
“Well, mommy gets tired, too, but if I don’t get you a snack then you’ll feel super hungry and since I am a kid and you are the grown-up, you can’t let me get too hungry!”
Having your child wash the inside of the windows?
As soon as he/she starts with, “But that is going to take a long time…”
You just stick your head right out there and say, “Well, we need to have clean windows and that is something that grown-ups have a responsibility to do.”
Now, it may be hard to watch your child sulk and fuss and feel left out on all of the fun that you are having because, hey, you are the kid and enjoying life again!
But just wait…
The best part is about to come…
5. Watch Them Change Their Mind
After some time, your child will more than likely come to realize that being an adult isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!
Sure, there are probably a few things that your child might find fun in doing, such as: being in charge of snack time and having full control of the remote.
But chances are pretty good that it won’t be long before they figure out that having to do work all day with little to no play is actually no fun at all.
If your child is a little older, they may even end up having more respect for you!
Later on, when the roles are reversed, and they start complaining about how unfair it is that you get to take away their tablet when the timer goes off, just remind them of this day.
“Remember that time when you were the parent and I got to be the kid? Do you want to play that again?”
I’d bet money on the fact that they are going to reflect on that day and tell you “No, never again!”
I find it funny that my son has never asked to be a grown-up again!
Now I just get to watch him enjoy his childhood the way that he should be!
I am glad that he won’t have those empty desires to be an adult before his time the way that I did when I was young like him.
And there you have it, folks!
If your child ever wishes that he/she was a grown-up so that they could get to do “cool” things like you, you just explain to your child what it is really like.
If they still beg to be an adult, then hand them the reins and you spend that time enjoying your well-missed childhood again!
Once they complain, you just talk them through and watch them change their mind!
Your child will gladly go back to enjoying what they are supposed to be enjoying:
A happy, healthy, childhood.
Mama Morgan is a single parent by day and a writer by night! She is raising two, young children with special needs during a global pandemic. She aims to give other parents confidence, hope, and a practical, down-to-earth reading adventure through her own experiences. While Morgan is heavily focused on caring for her little ones, she is also dedicated to helping others and making the world a better place. Mama’s Grilled Cheese is just her delicacy!