What did you do fun this week? This weekend?
Parents and kids are so busy trying to get homework, activities and sports (let alone their job at work) packed into a single week, they forget to have fun.
Here are 8 tips to make fun a priority!
1. Plan an adventure.
Sure you want to take that Disney Cruise but why does an adventure have to cost so much? Get up on a Saturday, blow off the chores and drive the kids to a nearby city where you have planned a visit to a museum, a hike, a great restaurant. Anything. Do something you haven’t done before. Rent bikes in a different city. Bring bikes to that city! Sure your little troopers may complain at the start but by the end their creativity has been sparked because you took them away from their day-to-day life and inspired their minds!
Letting Chance Decide: The Sanders family of Elk Grove, California, works together to fill three grab bags with spur-of-the-moment outing ideas written on index cards. The simplest activities, such as a picnic in the park, go in one bag; more time-consuming or costly ones, such as a museum visit, go in another; and the most involved activities, such as a trip to an amusement park, go in a third. When they have free time and funds, the family draws a card from the right bag. There’s only one rule, explains mom Barbara: “Whatever that card says, we do.”
2. Weekly Game Night
Once a week after dinner keep the family at the table (after they helped clear and clean the table!) for a weekly game. Keep time and only let it go on for an hour (or whatever works for your family). Sure game night is tough when they are little but do it often and challenge the younger ones and they rise to the game! You know your kids are smart! They are yours aren’t they?!
3. Celebrate the little things.
Life’s too short to save all the fun for birthdays and big holidays! Why not celebrate a high test grade…a day when someone helped another…when someone scored a goal…anything and everything! The other cool thing I’ve been doing it going to the 99 cent store and decorating certain (same) spots in our home with ‘seasonal’ decorations! For St. Patty’s Day we had a centerpiece and door hanger of a leprechaun, for Easter we have 4 glittered colored eggs on the island and one big one hanging in the hall. The kids oooh and ahh each time I take down and put up something new and the total cost is anywhere from $4-$5! Seeing their excited faces is worth every penny!
4. The Interviews
One question. When will your kid be this age he/she is right now ever again? If one of my kids is explaining a story or detailing something about their day I run for anything to record them with. Even my Iphone. I say, “Stop!” Then when taping I add, “Wait what were you saying…” The used to argue or say they were embarrassed but now they are used to me doing this and the result are moments saved forever! And it’s soooo simple. Hold the camera and ask them, “Tell me that story of the cat getting his paw stuck in the door again?” I can’t impress on your enough to do this – and do it often. You will thank me one day.
You can even do this on their birthdays. Make up a bunch of questions. Like; who are you friends and why do you like them? what do you want to do when you grow up? (you can ask this yearly- watch how it changes!) Ask them about their favorite family memory or moment. And re-read the last sentence in the paragraph above!!
5. Hit Days
Kids thrive on routines, but it’s often the unexpected moments that they truly treasure. Each year I will snag my kids individually out of school for a hit day. When they were younger I’d take them for the whole day, but now that they need to not miss school I do it during lunch. All it takes is packing their lunch with things they can’t eat. Rocks, bowls, anything that fills it so they won’t expect anything till they are seated at the lunch table. On the inside of their lunch box is a LARGE note: “you’ve been hit! Meet me in the office!” They come to the office thrilled and feeling like they are the most special child in the world!
I know a mom who puts her kids to bed and about 5 minutes later bangs a drum yelling “ice cream!” Yes. Sounds weird? She’ll get her kids up out of bed and take them out to ice cream in their PJ’s! Crazy? No! FUN!
6. It’s only food!
Whenever I have a few minutes or feel the urge, I’ll stop in the 99 cent store and buy the new ‘tester’ products they are selling. You only know they are tester products because you recognize the company/brand but not the flavor or the item. I bring these items home and have the kids do taste tests. They either love it or hate it and have a blast doing it.
Cake for breakfast? Why not? It’s the first meal of the day…they do have all day to burn it off! And are those Pop Tarts really with less sugar?
When I was a kid I walked out the door to a party in the street. Kids were everywhere. Today, kids have to call and book appointments to hang with their friends. Hence the reason I try and get all three of mine ‘dates’ at the same time so they are all busy and entertained. What often happens is now that there are 6 kids under my roof, they create even more fun.
I have to remind you again: Life is short. Invite your friends over to play too! Have a pizza party where everyone brings ingredients to make pizza (you provide the dough and sauce!) Have a cookie party whoever everyone brings over sprinkles and cookie cutters and you provide the dough and the pans for the oven!
Don’t be a boring family! Live a little and enjoy what you have in front of you! Very soon your little creatures will be up and gone from your house and these memories will be ones you’ll have forever. And they will have them too!