I am not the fun parent. In our family, that title belongs to my husband. He is the spontaneous one, the laid back one, the one who says “yes” to kids wanting to go on electronics or have extra ice cream. I’m the rules one, the schedule one, the responsible one. Part of that probably stems from me being an oldest and part of it is just habit or personality. The thing is that I want my kids to have fun memories of me so I try to make a conscious effort to do fun things with them and go outside of my comfort zone. Sometimes it’s big things like vacations or our family fun nights or making a themed party just for the fun of it, but it’s actually the everyday things that are more of a struggle for me.
It is actually really hard for me to lighten up and laugh with my kids. I’m always worried about doing what needs to be done and making sure that the dishes are done and that everyone is going to get fed. While there is some benefit to that, it can mean not only that I miss out on the fun moments, but that my kids miss out on seeing the fun side of me.
I’m often watching them play outside while I’m inside. Or I will take them places that are fun like playgrounds or parades or events, but I am mostly on the sidelines. I don’t want my kids to only think of me as the mom who drove them places.
It seems ridiculous to say that I actually have to write these things on a to-do list in order to do them, but I do. I will literally write “dance in kitchen with kids” on my list. Sure, maybe that sounds like it takes all the fun and spontaneity out of it but I’ll tell you that when the kids and I are giggling as we jump up, jump up and get down, it doesn’t matter to them that I had to add it to my list!
Some ways that you can be silly with your kids:
- Pretend to make the bed while they are still in it.
- Tell corny jokes (commonly known as ‘dad jokes’).
- Make silly faces.
- Put on some music and dance in the kitchen (songs like Macarena and the Chicken Dance are particularly good for laughing).
- Teach them Pig Latin or make up a new language together.
- Initiate a tickle war.
- Have a backwards day.
- Actually play on the playground with them: swing on the swings, climb up the jungle gym, balance on the teeter totter.
- Have a pillow fight.
- Roll down a hill.
- Have a tongue twister race.
- Splash in puddles.
- Jump rope or Chinese skipping.
- Make food in fun shapes or add some food colouring.
- Eat ice cream for breakfast.
- Play Twister.
- Try to keep a straight face and have the kids try to make you smile.
- Sit down on the floor and play with them.
- Make ghost hands.
- Face paint (make sure that you let the kids paint your face too!).
- Let them style your hair or do your make-up or paint your nails.
- Build a fort with them out of blankets and then climb inside and have a tea party.
- Dress up like clowns.
- Have a sponge fight.
- Skip in public. Better yet, jump up and click your heels together.
- Talk in rhymes all day.
- Have a silly string fight.
- Try to talk with marshmallows in your mouth.
- Play the flour game (so funny!).
- Play with punch balloons.
It’s still a stretch for me to try to be goofy. I’m the one getting in my own way of having more fun but just like anything, the more I practise, the better I get at it.
When we had our punch balloon ‘war’, I was worried that one would break and hurt someone or that some of the kids would take it too far, but it ended up being just fun. I was laughing harder than the kids were. And yes, some of the punch balloons broke but no one got hurt, no one cried and we came out of it with another memory to add in to their childhood memory banks.
I encourage you to try to add in a little bit of silly to your day today. Let me know how it goes!