Often it seems that today’s parents are expected to do everything perfectly. They’re expected to make healthy meals, help with homework – which often requires exceptional math skills -schedule play dates, drive carpools, and show up to every game, recital and parent-teacher conference showered and jovial. Oh, and they also might feel pressure to save for college tuition for one, two or more kids. With all the business and so many expectations on parents, it can sometimes be easy to naturally miss opportunities for fun.
With all the demands of life and parenting, the focus can get stuck on being good parents and getting everything done. Families can sometimes miss out on moments to make wonderful memories.
By being more intentional parents can look for ways to incorporate some fun. Kids, after all, can be geniuses when it comes to living in the moment and not sweating the small stuff. Kids also are often more than happy to have fun at a moment’s notice.
Here are some ways you can start having more fun with your kids:
Be in the Moment
When kids are playing and engaged in something they are interested in; they are most likely fully in the moment. All of their thoughts, feelings and senses are involved in whatever activity they are taking part in.
One step to having more fun with your kids is to be right there in the moment with them. If your mind wanders to all of those very adult responsibilities you have. Notice it and bring your mind back to what you are doing with the kids. As much as you can just be – with them.
Learn about their passions and interests;
Consider their hobbies, interests and how your kids spend time. Ask them to share about it with you or have them teach you about it. Even if it’s for short-time; tune in, and be sure to listen to understand by focusing on what they are saying. If you are able, try to find an authentic interest in what they are sharing with you, if for no other reason than because it matters to them. Sometimes this can be very hard if you have no interest in things, but the time you invest with your kids will be well spent.
Share Your Passions with Your Kids
If the idea of watching Dora the Explorer for three hours or playing Legos doesn’t thrill you, your kids will know you’re faking it. You can also introduce your kids to something you love to do; especially in a way that connects with their interests and personality.
If you love arts & crafts, why not start a creative project with your kids? Love cooking? Get them in the kitchen and teach them or ask them to go to a cake decorating class together. Your kids don’t really care what they do with you, they just want to be with you. Sure, maybe your teenager will roll her eyes at the first mention of decoupage, but don’t give up…keep offering other opportunities to connect, the reality is they do want to connect with you.
Try Something New
There is nothing like learning a new skill together, getting a new board game or exploring somewhere you’ve not been before. New and novel things are appealing for people of all ages and can help you build fantastic memories together.
Make Not Fun Things Fun
We don’t all have countless hours to devote to taking a class with our kids or going to the bowling alley every weekend. But this doesn’t mean we can’t have fun with them.
The truth is, many activities can be fun if we intend it to be. Doing the dishes together after dinner? See who can realistically quack like a duck. Have to study boring vocabulary words? Use a funny accent. Stuck in traffic on the way home from practice? Play “I Went on a Picnic.” Or putting on some music to dance to while doing a mundane task.
When it comes to having more fun with your kids, there aren’t any rules, except to just do it when you can.
Need help talking with your kids? Sometimes having fun can be challenging when the lines of communication aren’t quite open, maybe your stress is so high it’s hard to have the energy, or maybe right now it’s hard to even tolerate your child let alone have fun with them. This is when a parent therapist can help. They will support you with your own difficult emotions, and help you facilitate open and honest communication and provide evidence based tools to use every day.
If you’d like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with Lois. She would be happy to discuss how she may be able to help.