In the game of poke tag, the first player is ‘it’. They choose a ‘victim’ to poke. The goal is to be incessant and calmly annoying – not to hurt. The ‘victim’ can do whatever they want to get the first player to stop, but it doesn’t “count” until it’s a respectful request. So avoiding, poking back, yelling, ordering… Doesn’t work. It is more like permission for ‘it’ to be more annoying.
Once the ‘victim’ makes a respectful request for the poke to stop, ‘it’ gets to choose if they want to honor the request or not. If they choose to continue poking, now they’re on the ‘victim’s turf and that player can do anything they want to get ‘it’ to stop – I’m thinking of big scary lion rawrs, and running around. Once the ‘victim’ tags ‘it’ they become ‘it’ and can choose their ‘victim.’
This boundary game teaches that you and only you are in control of your actions. You are free to torment, even. You don’t have to be bound by other people’s limits and you don’t always have to be nice, but you are responsible for your actions. It also teaches that it is up to you to defend your own space. That respect is critical, but that you have the right to use force when necessary to defend your boundaries.
Do something other than poking. Mix it up. Try to catch the other person off guard.
Get suspenseful after you’ve asked ‘it’ to stop – surprise them with a big hug or kiss or tickle attack, or chase them all over.