Parenting Positive Kids

gacgbaker
How do you put 'fun' back in parenting?
October 4, 2012 at 7:45 AM

Kate

Looking back to my early childhood I couldn’t tell you how many times a week my Mum vacuumed or cleaned the shower, I don’t know if I went to swimming lessons and I don’t remember if we had expensive furniture.  What I can tell you is that we had a lot of fun and it was not just okay to be a little silly – it was encouraged.

I have memories of making mud pies, water fights and a slippery water slide made with a ute cover.  We have home movies of my sister and I with our faces painted like the band “Kiss”.

Sometimes now it seems we are so busy.  Busy shopping, busy working, busy cleaning the house, busy taking preschoolers to lessons.  Have we gotten too busy to have a little fun?  One of my favourite messages from the SKIP parenting initiative is “the housework can wait, your children need you now”.  While my own mother may joke that I take it too literally it’s about sometimes, forgoing the vacuuming for some baking together, but that’s something I am proud of.

Often in my role as a visiting teacher for footsteps, people say “excuse the mess” when I come to visit.  I always reassure them that with under fives in the house, this is the way it should look if you are learning and having fun.  Maybe there is a little finger-paint smudge on the wall, or flour on the floor from over enthusiastic ‘helpers’ for baking.  Perhaps the children are still in their pyjamas cuddled up having a story.  These are the signs of a happy home.

So what are some ways to put the fun back into your family?

  • Make a batch of play dough together from scratch and spend a morning making dinosaurs, cupcakes or shaping the letters in their name.  Here is an easy recipe from footsteps.

1 cup flour

1 cup water

1 tablespoon oil

½ cup of salt

2 tsp cream of tartar

food colouring (optional)

  • Get really messy with some sensory play such as goop.  You will be amazed how it changed to and from a liquid and solid.

2 cups cornflour

1 cup cold water

Place cornflour in a bowl and slowly add water.  You are aiming to stop adding water when the cornflour is thoroughly damp but not liquid.  Pour onto a large tray, table or into a trough.

If you child has grown out of the stage of putting things in their mouth and has no allergies you can use shaving foam sprayed on an outdoor table or large tray for messy play.

  • Do some home baking together.  If you are not a ‘baker’ make some fairy bread or decorate some premade cupcakes.  It is the process of having fun together not the end product.
  • Have a pyjama and movie day.  Even better if you have some of your own home movies to watch.
  • Have a dress up or face painting day, including the adults.  Then take some silly photos.
  • Surprise your child by taking a day off from work or the usual routine.  Take a picnic and go to the park.
  • Try something as a family that you have never done before like have a pretend power cut and decorate the house with candles.
  • My daughter loves a home disco.  Michael Jackson is put on and out come the Thriller moves.  We often sing together in the car.  The teenager of the house may roll his eyes from the back seat and put in his iPod earphones but that’s another story!
  • You might have to wait for the weather to get warmer again but water fights with water guns, balloons and cups will have them squealing with laughter.
  • Camp outside in a tent or sleep in a hut inside.  You can tell stories by torch light.
  • Play a boardgame such as snakes and ladders or a card game such as go fish.  Children don’t need expensive toys, they want your time.
  • Share a fun activity from your childhood like ‘elastics’ or knucklebones or hunt down your own favourite childhood book or movie and relive the fun with your child.
  • If you find yourself caught up in the routines of the week place some ideas in a jar and let your child choose one a week.

Still need convincing that being a bit silly and having fun is not only enjoyable but an important part of our family life……….

  • Having fun is a stress reliever for adults and children.
  • We all need the therapeutic release of a laugh.
  • Playing and laughing with your child creates a close bond.
  • Being spontaneous teaches your child to be adaptable.
  • Having fun develops a sense of humour.
  • You may have heard the saying “Play is a child’s work”.  Children learn through play making learning positive and fun.
  • Today’s fun are tomorrow’s memories.
  • Trying new things, getting messy and having fun encourages your child to be adventurous, confident and creative.

What does your family do to have fun?  We’d love you to share your ideas so please send us your comments.

Replies

  • apoynter
    October 4, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    Being a 'swim club family'......I would have 'swim club days' in the middle of winter....we'd all put on our bathing suits (mostly to see if the kids have outgrown theirs) put some teeny-bopper music on the stereo LOUD,grab the sunglasses, lay beach towels out for them to 'tan' under the houselights.....lather up with last year's suncreen and 'go swimming' in the bathtub....complete with goggles, dive toys, balls, etc.  after a few minutes, I'd call 'adult swim' just like summer....and the kids have to get out  of the tub, while my pasty-white bathing suited self jumped INTO the 'pool'. 

    Lots of pictures, lots of fun!  AND IT DOESN'T COST A DIME!!!!
    !

  • SabrinaLC
    October 4, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    We're boring here.

    It's not like we don't ever do anything.  We just do it often.

  • Meltopia529
    October 4, 2012 at 10:35 AM
    We always do fun things. We're playing @ mcdonalds right now!
  • ADPIAKCMAMI
    October 4, 2012 at 10:43 AM
    Im gna try these..Now days i feel like theres not enough hours in the day to just sit and play withthe kids!!! we do play board games sometimes but my 3 1/2 month old is addicted to being held so she stays in her bouncy likke 10 mins at the most!!!
  • hunterskysmom
    October 4, 2012 at 1:08 PM
    We go on day trips every weekend the hubby has off
  • gacgbaker
    October 5, 2012 at 9:50 AM


    Quoting ADPIAKCMAMI:

    Im gna try these..Now days i feel like theres not enough hours in the day to just sit and play withthe kids!!! we do play board games sometimes but my 3 1/2 month old is addicted to being held so she stays in her bouncy likke 10 mins at the most!!!

    I feel the same way!  There are all these fall events going on and most of them are free- I feel like there isn't enough time to do everything I want to with them!

  • Delirium003
    October 5, 2012 at 10:39 AM
    We have family game nights. Or get a Redbox movie and order pizza and have a movie night.

    We try to do some sort of adventure every weekend. This weekend we are going to a corn maze. Last weekend we had an indoor picnic...under a fort of blankets and pillows. :)
  • gacgbaker
    October 5, 2012 at 10:57 AM


    Quoting Delirium003:

    We have family game nights. Or get a Redbox movie and order pizza and have a movie night.

    We try to do some sort of adventure every weekend. This weekend we are going to a corn maze. Last weekend we had an indoor picnic...under a fort of blankets and pillows. :)

    Love the idea of an indoor picnic!  We did a fort a few summers ago out of blankets and pillows- I think it's time to do another one.  :)

  • Meltopia529
    October 5, 2012 at 4:14 PM
    I love the indoor picnic idea too

    Quoting gacgbaker:


    Quoting Delirium003:

    We have family game nights. Or get a Redbox movie and order pizza and have a movie night.



    We try to do some sort of adventure every weekend. This weekend we are going to a corn maze. Last weekend we had an indoor picnic...under a fort of blankets and pillows. :)

    Love the idea of an indoor picnic!  We did a fort a few summers ago out of blankets and pillows- I think it's time to do another one.  :)

  • mysticalmalissa
    October 6, 2012 at 7:28 AM

    These are great ideas!

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