It seems that today’s parents are expected to do everything perfectly. They’re expected to make healthy meals, help with homework – which often requires exceptional math skills -schedule play dates, drive carpools, and show up to every game, recital and parent-teacher conference showered and jovial. Oh, and they must also save up just the right amount for college tuition for one, two or more kids.

While parenting is serious business, it shouldn’t be serious all of the time. Parents need to remember to take advantage of the fact that they live with kids. Kids, after all, are geniuses when it comes to living in the moment and not sweating the small stuff. Kids, yes, even older ones, are more than happy to have fun at a moment’s notice.

It’s important to remember that parenting should be fun. If we focus too much on being good parents, we’ll miss out on making wonderful memories with our kids.

Here are some ways you can start having more fun with your kids:

Be in the Moment

I guarantee, your eight-year-old doesn’t spend much time worrying about their schedule the following day or regretting a decision they made the day before. They are most likely fully engaged in the moment. All of their thoughts, feelings and senses are involved in whatever activity they are taking part in.

Adults call this mindfulness, and if you’ve spent any time meditating, you know what I’m talking about. Your first step to having more fun with your kids is to be right there in the moment with them. Don’t let your mind wander to all of those very adult responsibilities you have. Just be – with them.

Share Your Passions with Your Kids

If the idea of watching Dora the Explorer for three hours or playing Legos doesn’t thrill you, your kids will know you’re faking it. Why not introduce your kids to something you love to do?

If you love arts & crafts, why not start a creative project with your kids? Love cooking? Get them in the kitchen and teach them or take a cake decorating class together. Your kids don’t really care what they do with you, they just want to be with you. Sure, maybe your teenager will roll her eyes at the first mention of decoupage, but the reality is she wants to try new things and get closer to you.

Make Not Fun Things Fun

We don’t all have countless hours to devote to taking a class with our kids or going to the bowling alley every weekend. But this doesn’t mean we can’t have fun with them.

The truth is, ANY activity can be fun if we intend it to be. Doing the dishes together after dinner? See who can realistically quack like a duck. Have to study boring vocabulary words? Use a funny accent. Stuck in traffic on the way home from practice? Play “I Went on a Picnic.”

When it comes to having more fun with your kids, there aren’t any rules, except to just do it.

Need help talking with your kids? Sometimes having fun can be challenging when the lines of communication aren’t quite open. This is when a family therapist can help. They will be able to facilitate open and honest communication and provide tools to use every day.

If you’d like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with me. I would be happy to discuss how I may be able to help.

Priscilla Hurd, LPC, M.Ed.

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