I've always thought of myself as a pretty fun person. I have lots of fun hobbies and interests, travel on fun trips to fascinating places, listen to fun music and try to be adventurous and open to new experiences. But sometimes I wonder: are the demands of parenthood and adult life generally making me boring in my child's eyes? I don't want to be the boring parent, I want to be the fun one!
As a caviat, I don't think we parents need to be fun all the time. There are lots of serious things we have to take care of, and certain occasions do require discipline, thoughtfulness, calm and other "boring" attitudes. That said, I was very grateful to come across a really helpful set of tips for bringing the fun back into my family from the "For the Family" website.
First the author points out that it makes sense our kids would think we weren't the most fun.
"Is Mom really so boring in her eyes? Think about it. We grown-ups cook dinner, wash dishes, pay taxes and sit still through half-hour sermons. Compared to dinosaurs and hula hoops and playground swings, I suppose we are kind of dull."
So what can we do about it? Here's an abbreviated version of some of her tips, using F-U-N as a mnemonic tool:
"F—Establish an environment of Forgiveness. Nobody has fun walking on eggshells. Make your home a place of grace where kids are free to make mistakes and express their true selves."
This is so important! It's so easy to fall into the habit of saying "no no no" all day, or getting snappy at our kids when they - admit it - really get under our skin, are slow to obey or learn how to do something the right way, or accidentally do things to break or ruin our stuff. But if we can focus on increasing our forgiveness, thereby increasing our patience and kindness with our kids, they can feel comfortable with us, free to be creative with us, as well as learn crucial life lessons about being resilient after making mistakes (as we all do, even parents!).
"U—Do the Unexpected. Nothing says “fun” like spontaneity. Step outside the usual routine every once in a while and infuse some excitement into an otherwise ordinary day."
Routines are very important, especially for the youngest children. But keeping routines also means you can once in a while afford to do something surprising and out of the ordinary! Sometimes for us that means having a popsicle, watching a movie together, taking a surprise trip to the model train exhibit at the mall, or building a blanket fort. Be spontaneous!
"N—Nurture your child’s interests, not just your own."
We know our children so well that sometimes we don't realize we can fall into a habit of deciding for them what they "want" to do. We plan lots of trips to the museum, field trips, etc. But how about listening to them? What are some of the daily things they have fun doing that you could join in on? Go ahead - play with cars and trains! Run around outside playing superheroes! Go down the slide! Make mud pies! Parenthood is a great chance to reconnect with your own fun-loving kid inside. Take advantage of it and play with your kids at their level, doing what they love to do.
You can read the whole article by following the link.