Parenting Strategy: Tiki Taka
Up here in the Pacific Northwest it rains – a lot. Sometimes (ok, a lot of times), rather than enjoying the great outdoors with my daughter, I’m stuck inside an enclosed space with someone who loves to run around a soccer field like an inmate who recently escaped from an insane asylum. To say that she gets cranky would be an understatement. Snacks don’t come fast enough. Cartoons are too long, or not long enough. Toys that give her the stinkeye need to be banished from her sight. She’s cranky because she doesn’t get her usual time outside and I’m cranky because she’s cranky. No one wins. For these exclusively indoor days, I’ve formulated a parenting strategy the help mitigate her tantrums and my headaches. It borrows principles from Barcelona’s game-shattering, Tiki Taka 1
The keys to Tiki Taka are possession of the ball, movement, and creativity with space and personnel. Just as keeping the ball for Tiki Taka is key, keeping your little companion happy is key.
Keep her Occupied, Control the Action
There is one ball and 22 players on the pitch. The players at Barcelona, control the action by keeping the ball. You can control the action and prevent chaos by holding your child’s attention and keeping your child occupied with activities.
My two-year old’s attention span varies between activities. She can get tired of building with blocks within 10 minutes or she can sit quietly for 20 minutes looking at pictures in her books. You have to stay one step ahead and have the next activity cued up. Part of this parenting strategy involves setting up stations around our home with her activities. There’s an area where she can draw. She has a little dollhouse in one corner and we store musical instruments under our coffee table.
Movement & Transition
The players who excel most in the Tiki Taka system are small and quick players. They have exceptional skill on the ball, but they also have a knack for moving to the right spot at the right time.
Once I have her activities cued up. I help my daughter transition from one activity to the next. I make it a smooth transition by thinking one step ahead. I follow up blocks with a drawing. While she’s drawing, I begin fixing a snack. When she’s finishing up the snack, I get the homemade playdough out of the fridge.
Creativity with Space
I only have so many activities in my arsenal. Depending on her interest on that day, I recycle, adjust and adapt to keep my toddler happy. This is where we borrow another one of Tiki Taka’s tenets: Creativity.
Space on a soccer pitch is defined. However, with movement and creativity, that space can be transformed to open up the defense.
When my daughter’s cycled through all of our activities, it’s time to get creative and transform the space of our home. I love to engage my daughter’s imagination by transforming her bed into a rocketship, or our couch into a fort.
It’s not all beautiful passing, movement and awe-inspiring goals with Tiki Taka. Just like parenting, there’s quite a bit of work that goes into implementing this strategy. Before you control the ball, make the passes and score the goals, you have to win the ball. To win the ball requires persistence.
Parenting takes work. I know, your mind is blown. It takes a lot of work and energy to make snacks, build forts and to listen to your toddler’s babble. You have to stay persistent and keep your mind on why you’re doing all this work: to keep her happy so that she’ll give you a moment’s peace to go to the bathroom by yourself 2.