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How to make Role-playing less awkward

How to make Role-playing less awkward

The biggest obstacle we’ve run into when teaching skills to a family is getting them onboard with Role-playing and why they need to make it a daily habit. Without Role-play aka practicing what you are teaching your children won’t work.


We totally get that Role-playing is hard, awkward even. The reality is that until you and your family become comfortable with Role-playing it’s going to be hard and awkward and probably even frustrating. The good news? Role-playing gets easier and less awkward the more you do it.

Role-playing allows the brain to reprogram or solidify how it responds and that doesn’t happen overnight. One of the reasons the behavior skills of the Teaching-Family Model work again and again is due to the incorporation of Role-playing as a vital component in each of the skills.

We know that families aren’t going to get it right on the first try; we also know that just because a child has done it right once means that they will always do it right in the future.

As part of the Smarter Parenting team, we have the privilege of being filmed. As I watched my first video I cringed at how awkward it was. I felt awkward and it showed. I knew that I’d continue being filmed so I started Role-playing to improve my videos. I practiced my script out loud in front of my bathroom mirror and I sat in our filming studio. The more I’ve practiced the more comfortable I’ve felt when the camera start rolling. I still have a long way to go before I 100% feel comfortable in front of the camera, but, it’s a whole lot better than my first take.

How can you make Role-playing less awkward?

You have to actually do it

If you only Role-play once a year, it’s going to be awkward. The reduction in awkwardness comes only in the doing of it.

Reward yourself

Rewards are a wonderful way to encourage us to do something that is difficult or hard or out of our comfort zone. Now, the reward should be in proportion to the effort your putting in. Practicing once does not earn you a trip to Paris. Whereas practicing 5,000 times could.

Start with something comfortable

Don’t start Role-playing with something that is hard or difficult. It will only make you frustrated and hate Role-playing. By starting with something easy that you know you can do, it gives you confidence to continue growing and learning.

Keep it short

In the beginning Role-plays should be a couple of minutes. Keeping it short has a better chance of keeping it in the “enjoyable” instead of “dreaded” category.

Don’t beat yourself up

One of the reasons most older children and adults hate Role-playing is the fear not being perfect. In Role-playing it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll mess up. So cut yourself a break when it happens and see it as a learning opportunity and a chance at improvement.

Give yourself permission to be silly

Yep, I’m telling you to revert you’re your silly three-year-old self that found everything funny. So have a dance party beforehand, speak in an accent, wear a wig, or find some other way to be totally silly. The more you can turn it into a game, the less awkward it will feel.

We know that Role-playing will always be awkward in the beginning, but we also know how much power Role-playing has in helping you improve your families behavior and isn’t that worth just a little bit of awkwardness?

Check out the Role-play lesson for Role-playing games, activities, suggestions, and additional information.

We’d love to share what you’ve done in your family to make Role-playing less awkward. Share your story at [email protected]