Do you remember the “Born Yesterday” episode of “Bluey” where Bandit pretends he was born yesterday and Bluey and Bandit have to help him navigate being a day old? Like pretty much all episodes of the show, there was a deeper meaning (and real-life parenting lesson!) connected to the Heeler family’s antics: power reversal play.

What is power reversal play? A mom by the name of Mia (who goes by Playful Heart Parenting on Instagram) is all about connecting with your kiddos through play, and shared a simple yet powerful reel demonstrating how she and her husband implement this important technique.

Mia defined power reversal as “any type of play in which the child gets to be the powerful/strong one and the adult pretends to be weak/helpless (usually in a silly way),” before asking the crucial question, “why does this mean so much to kids?”

“They spend much of their days being told what to do and what not to do. They need our help doing so many things and don’t have a ton of independence yet,” she explained in the reel’s caption. “Letting them play the role of the more powerful figure and seeing us fumble, fall, and need their help does wonders for their self-esteem—YES, even though they know it’s play/pretend!—and they find it hilarious!”

Watch the Instagram reel here.

The reel shows her husband enthusiastically pretending that his daughter is knocking him down while swinging, but Mia admitted that you don’t have to use that much energy. “Now, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE that my husband is often willing to go full-out with the physical energy like this,” she wrote. “But, let’s be honest—most of us rarely have that level of energy. I certainly don’t most days!!” (Amen to that!)

Thankfully, she also shared some more low energy ways to put this fun practice into play (pun intended), which you can check out below.

4 more ways to try ‘power reversal play’

  • Letting them knock you over on the bed with a pillow and you try to get up but “can’t.”
  • “Forgetting” how to do anything right and needing their help (reading books upside down, brushing their ears instead of teeth, forgetting the words to simple songs).
  • Pretending you’re “stuck” and need them to push your legs to help you remember how to walk.
  • Pretending to try and lift something that’s actually light but saying it’s way too heavy, then being amazed/jealous when they can easily lift it because they are so much stronger than you!

This form of play not only helps with connection, but could also help ease power struggles with kiddos who feel like they never have control. And that is definitely a parenting win.