A lot of what we do as parents doesn’t come under the ‘Fun’ category – the cleaning, the organising, the saying ‘no’, the enforcing of the rules. It’s easy for fun to take the back seat to all of this routine, but it shouldn’t.
The fun we have with our kids creates golden memories and is one of the best ways to ensure our kids grow into confident, happy adults. So we’ve put together some inspiration to help you make more time for fun, every day:
Having fun with the kids teaches them social skills and knowing that you love playing with them is invaluable for their self-esteem and confidence. What could be more important than that?
But is having fun with the kids a priority? Try saying ‘having fun with the kids is not a priority’ and see how that sounds – it’s a quick way to realise that yes, having fun with the kids should be a priority for you.
Make fun part of your routine…
What’s your daily routine? Is fun a part of it or just something that happens if you have time? Every day we make time to get dressed, brush our teeth, do the school run, make meals, read stories, do bath time, get ready for bed… Take a look at your routine and see where fun naturally fits in, then book it in as a non-negotiable part of your day.
…and make your routine fun
An easy way to get in more fun is to make more of the daily routine fun, for both you and the kids. Turn as many parts of the day into a game as you can – from brushing teeth to doing the supermarket shopping, it can all be fun if you put your mind to it.
Ignore the outside world
The minute you look at your phone or log on to your laptop the kids know the fun is over. Having fun requires your full attention, so turn off your phone and vow not to check Facebook, Instagram or emails during fun time. There’s time to do that later.
Keep things simple
How much time everyday do you spend deciding what to wear? Make like Steve Jobs and have your own personal uniform. He wore jeans, a black turtle neck and trainers everyday – to avoid decision making fatigue, saving his mental time and energy for more important things.
The same technique works for making time for fun – create your own uniform (turtle neck not required!) so that you can be ready in 5 minutes, and save that time for having fun.
Plan out the week’s meals; breakfast, lunch and dinner – then create a shopping list and do it all online. This is going to take an hour or so, but then you’re done for the week – no multiple trips to the supermarket, no deciding what to cook every day, and, you got it, making more time for fun.
As soon as an adult turns up, the fun switch is turned off. You can’t be the fun one when you’re talking to someone else, so ban adults when you’re having fun time with the kids. Save it for when they’re having fun times with their friends.
Say ‘No’ more
Making time to have real quality time with the kids, just you and them, might mean saying ‘no’ to some of the play dates and events they get invited to. You don’t have to make up a mystery illness, just tell the other parents you’re making time for one-on-one fun and see how the idea catches on.
Talk to your partner about this and find ways you can help each other to make time. Share the bathtime/bedtime/mealtime/homework duties so you can both have time to play.
Always ‘The Enforcer’? Talk about this too. Enforcing works best when you support each other and this role really is better shared. Have a childminder/babysitter? Get them to do the dishes/make the dinner or lunches.
Ask a relative or friend your kids look up to to give them some help with schoolwork, say an hour a week, and use that time to do some of the chores you’d otherwise do on the weekend when you could be having fun.
Be perfectly imperfect
The dishes can wait…
Having fun has to be fun for you too – if life’s stressful, get out and about and have fun by playing around the park with the kids.