by Deborah Godfrey
So often parenting becomes a chore. In order to be effective, we must spend a great deal of time training our children, and especially following through with consequences to misbehavior. Sometimes it seems there just aren’t any more smiles or laughs from mom or dad. I think children can often be won over by our loving smile and warmth. Here are some ways to have fun when limits need to be set, or behavior needs to be redirected. Use these ideas when you don’t remember the last time you smiled at your child.
1) When standing in line somewhere, make up a game, give your child your undivided attention and play it with your child. The waiting is so boring for them; instead of making them stand quiet and leave us alone, take time to bond and have fun with your child.
2) Sing the limits in a singsong voice. Hum it, rap it, or sing it to your favorite oldie, something to take the bossy edge out of our voice.
3) Put the kids in charge of the time. State ahead of time what time everyone needs to leave the beach and ask for a volunteer to be timekeeper.
4) Make a family assembly line. One year when we went to Hawaii, I was one adult with three kids. We came up with a routine to transfer luggage. One would stay at the curb and three would take some luggage inside to the line. One would stay with that luggage while two went back for more luggage. Back and forth in teams we went, until all luggage was transferred. This worked the entire trip and was fun, entertaining and got the job finished.
5) Give your kids a budget when you can if you are shopping or on vacation, instead of them begging, and us giving in at random. Allow everyone to have a certain amount they are allowed to spend. Once in awhile, I surprise them with an outrageous budget, just for fun. Just think on a mundane trip to Target, offering them $20 to get what they want (no candy is my only limit)-they have so much fun and it decreases the begging and pleading on this trip and in the future.
6) Smile, laugh and play. We are so busy that it seems most of our time is taken with chores and “have to do’s”. Staying on task is certainly important, and so is having fun! Attempt to be in the moment and make the moment worthwhile for your child. Maybe it’s just cleaning, or cooking, or yard work. We can still choose to have some fun and make it interesting for our children. Notice the birds that fly by, smell the trunk of a tree (yes, some of them smell)! Take just a small amount of time to notice little details and point them out to your children with excitement and fun.