Find your playful parent
Family life can be very busy and it is easy to lose track of WHY we had kids in the first place. Often we simply lose our way in the rush of daily chores, activities, worries, disciplining and running around! We might feel disappointed that family life has not turned out as we hoped, or about the parent we thought we would be!
Parenting can easily become an endless string of commands; brush your teeth, clean your room, get dressed, do your homework, stop fighting – or feel like just a long list of chores and worries. Before we know it parenthood has become a serious thing, a burden, with little fun or joy.
So let’s tune into our playful parent and turn up our passion for parenting!
- Join in: try to enter your kid’s world, we cannot always drag them into ours: hop on the trampoline, get up that tree, join in building Lego – enter their playful and often exciting world. You might have to leave the chores, don’t worry – they will wait for you!!
- Give the moment your full attention: kids are so good at giving the moment their full attention, to fully engage in the ‘here and now’, what they are doing, lost in time. Try to zone-out from everything that is not important right now and zone-in to what matters right now. You will find that you start enjoying the moment much more and it is super relaxing to just BE.
- Funny food: do you have fussy eaters? Then try to surprise your family with smiley sandwiches, a happy face plate, pizza with arms and legs!! Plus you might actually get your kids to eat the greens! Why not have a ‘come dine with me’ evening!
- Listen to music and dance: yes like we used to do. Put YOUR music on and sing out loud! You might embarrass your kids for a while – but before you know it they have joined in. Happiness is contagious!
- Family fun day: try to plan to do something fun as a family once a week, it does not have to be a big thing i.e. make a bonfire, picnic in the park, movie night, come dine with me where you take turns cooking. Don’t hang out at the side-lines and clap, get IN THERE!
- Connect before correct: before situations that might be ‘more serious’ have some fun: before homework play a game (play some Lego, do crafts, dollies, dressing up), before bedtime read a book or have a song, You will find things will run so much more smoothly when you are both in a good mood!
- Make NOT FUN into FUN: Shatter the tension and try to make it all about the relationship between you and your child NOT the chores or situation! Make cleaning up a silly game, make the morning rush OK (lots of smiles, cuddles, encouragement, fun games ‘ready steady go’), turn sibling fighting into a tug of war or water balloon game, bath-time battles can be turned into a ‘wet craft time’ with water crayons that can be used in the tub (these can be removed), be creative and turn the mundane into fun!
- Make time for YOU: we DO love our kids but we do also need time to be just us again. Maybe organise a night alone with your partner (or friends) where you are not talking about kids, go out for some live music, theatre or anything that makes you happy!
Benefits of more playful parenting:
It’s all about connecting before correcting and we will find that things just run a bit smoother when we turn up our playfulness and enter their world. Plus it helps us to feel happier and more light when we allow our inner child to come out.