My Books

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

10 Free Ways to Be a Fun Parent

I know, I know. You're thinking If it were easy to be a fun parent, we'd all do it. True. But what's not to love about something that's free and fun? You've gotta try these. Really. You'll feel better.

  1. Play with your child. This could be a board game, Barbies, video games, on the playground, in the backyard, wherever. Join in the fun rather than stand on the sidelines. You'll definitely move up a few notches on your child's most admired list. Don't worry about looking silly. Kids think it's funny when parents play at their level.
  2. Skip. That's right, skip. When's the last time you did? Take hold of your child's hand and take off together. Skip as high as you can. It's exhilarating!
  3. Sing. Can't carry a tune in a bucket? All the better. It'll just add to the fun. Sing to your child. Sing together. Let him sing to you. As your child grows, so will their groans when you sing. But then again, so will the memories you're making together. Don't forget to laugh at yourself and never criticize your child's singing.
  4. Teach them cool tricks like whistling or clapping with one hand.Is there a weird skill you learned as a child? Can you draw something in a special way? Can you still do a cartwheel? Can you speak in a funny voice? Show it off to your kids and teach them to do it too. They may have some freakish skill they can do, too. Let them teach you in return!
  5. Laugh and smile. As often as you can, at the very least daily. If you're not much of a laugher, start by smiling more often. Smile at your child, your spouse, anything you find amusing or appealing. This will ease you into laughing out loud. Laughing eases tension and raises the fun factor incredibly. It also makes you more approachable, which is critical to your child's security. As a reminder, tape a smiling face to your bathroom mirror.
  6. Be silly. There are plenty of ways to do this. Here are a few. Make silly rules like you have to whisper all day. Wear wacky clothes. Make up holidays. 
  7. Surprise them. Say yes when they expect a no. The delight on their faces is totally worth it. For example: Can I have dessert before supper? Yes! Better yet, offer it before they ask. Or how about when you see them sitting around doing nothing you say, "What are you doing just sitting there? Why don't you go jump on the bed a while?" A couple jumps isn't going to kill anyone or anything and a surprise statement like that scatters boredom like nobody's business.
  8. Love their friends. Invite them over. Make them snacks. Converse with them. Take an interest in what they're interested in. This will score big points with your kids.
  9. Be childlike yourself. Don't be so concerned about being a responsible adult. Be willing to be undignified for a while. Get dirty. Use your imagination. Be creative. You may enjoy it!
  10. Encourage and praise them every chance you get. Above all, do this one. Let them try things their own way, even if it doesn't turn out as well as your way. The unspoken message here is "I trust your judgment." Praise them for their efforts, not the results. Point out their positive character traits (i.e. kindness, perseverance, honesty) rather than their achievements. Encourage them to keep trying at things that are tough. Always, always cover necessary criticism or discipline with love, as if this one mistake was just an aberration of their usual great behavior and judgment. 
None of these suggestions cost you a cent. As a matter of fact, I bet you'll find you're paid back in spades (or giggles and hugs) if you do just some of them some of the time. Your tension may decrease and your fun factor increase in the process! Go for it!

How do you have fun with your kids?



  1. Great post! I love it :) My boys are young adults now, but this brings back a lot of great memories! Thank you for encouraging parents to have some fun. It doesn't have to be serious all the time! Laughter is a wonderful gift.

    p.s. We still have fun!!

  2. Thanks for your comment, Amy. You're right. It doesn't have to be serious all the time. Sometimes life crowds us so much we forget to laugh and enjoy it. But what a great stress reliever laughter is. Thanks for reading and joining in the conversation.

  3. Hi Linda,
    What a fun blog. I love the photo here. I have two grandgirls that spend a lot of time with me and I do fun things like take them to the library, play blocks, hide-and-seek, Yatzee, and I'm teaching the oldest how to play the piano. We have a blast. They love their "Mimi" time and I love it because they think the sun and the moon revolve around me. Where else can I get such unconditional love? (Besides from God, of course.)

  4. Well no wonder they love their "Mimi" time! You sound like loads of fun! When you join in the fun instead of observing their play it sends them a powerful message that they're fun to be with. Who doesn't need that? Thanks for reading and commenting.