So, I’m going to be brutally honest with you right now. This summer wiped me out. By Labor Day, I was a shell of my former self, mindlessly pouring bowls of cereal and counting down the days to school. Why? It was probably a mix of the stress of moving (thank goodness that’s all over!), a lack of scheduled summer activities (camp was only a month long—so NOT cool), and nonstop humidity. Oh, the humidity. But now that school is back in session and I can crack open some of the windows in the house in order to get some fresh air, I am determined to not only but a bounce back in my step, but some excitement back in my parenting. More specifically, I am determined to wrestle the “fun parent” title away from my hubby. You too? Then check out my simple tips on how to be a fun mom.
Let it Go
Just like Anna and Elsa say, life is a bit more fun when you let some things go. Easier said than done, however, especially for a crazy organized Virgo like myself. But here’s the thing. If I am so focused on having a clean house, organic lunches, and a screen free lifestyle I am literally going to implode from the pressure of it all (I speak from past experience—the winter of 2013 was not a good one for me, my friends). So that I do is make a list of three non negotiables and focus on those tasks (mine include having a clean kitchen every night, making it to school pick up and drop off on time, and getting to the grocery store once a week). All of the other minor ones are put on the back burner so that I’m not stressed about if or when they get accomplished.
Make an Ordinary Day Extraordinary
We always tend to go all out for birthdays and holidays, but why aren’t such minor days celebrated as well? That got me thinking about how to make ordinary days extraordinary. That’s why Friday nights are pizza nights and Sundays are no pants football Sundays (no matter how hard I try to fight this one). If someone has a particularly rough day, we will veg out on the couch together in front of a favorite movie or even create our own drive in movie (with extra buttered popcorn, of course!)…and when someone has something to celebrate, we hit up one of our favorite spots for a treat. Sometimes it’s the small moments that are the most meaningful.
Take a Step Back
It is REALLY hard for me to let my boys take the lead on things…probably because of the mess that typically ensues. But here’s the thing. They have SO MUCH FUN making that mess. And to be honest, so do I. So I have started to stock my kitchen with plastic utensils and have given them the job of cutting up bananas for our oatmeal and having them spread the sauce on our pizza during our weekly family pizza night. An added bonus to taking a step back in the kitchen? My kids are much more likely to eat the food that they have prepared so meal time becomes less of a battle.
Stop, Drop, and Roll
I’m not talking about fires here, instead I’m talking about the type of situation that all of us parents have been in at one time or another: You are consumed with a task (making dinner, folding laundry, etc.) and your child comes up to you and begs for you to play with him/her. Usually I give my standard response of “give Mommy five minutes to finish what she’s doing” when I’m secretly hoping that my kids find something to do independently. But to be honest, it makes me feel like a straight up liar sometimes and typically we all end up being crabby after this type of exchange. So lately I have realized that stopping my boring task (I mean, does anyone REALLY like folding laundry? If so, send them to my house immediately) for a few minutes to zoom some cars or read a book benefits both of us. Just because we are adults with tons of responsibilities doesn’t mean that we can’t have a little bit of fun, right?!?! Looking for some creative ways to play? Here are some of our favorites that both kids and adults enjoy.
Spice It Up
I love routines…and so do kids. But here’s the thing…when some spontaneity is brought into life, things undoubtedly become more fun. Breakfast for dinner might feel like a cop out to you on a busy weeknight, but kids think of it as an exciting adventure (I mean, another opportunity to eat bacon?!?! Yes, please!). Do you typically have story time on the couch before bed? Spice it up by having it in your child’s bedroom….and invite all of his/her stuffed animals to join in on the fun!
ZERO PREP FUN ACTIVITIES TO DO ANYTIME, ANYWHERE
*Play “I Spy”
*Blast some music and have an impromptu dance party
*Play “Simon Says”
*Act like a monkey, dolphin, cheetah…any and all types of animals you can think of while performing a simple task. I mean, how would a dolphin tie his or her shoes?!?
*Talk or read in a silly voice
*Make any task into a race
*Go on a walk with zero purpose except to explore
*Make up a silly story together
*Have a tickle fest
*Dig in the dirt/snow/sand….anything!
*Look for different shapes in the clouds
What do you do to be a fun parent? Want to say “YES” more? Here’s what happened when I tried it…