Inside: Have you ever wanted to be sillier with your kids? Have more fun with them as a mom? Moms get bogged down with chores and discipline that we sometimes forget that the to-do lists can wait, but our kids can’t. If we focus on being more sillier and more fun as a mom, their happiness and the happiness of our home will increase.
I have a confession to make.
I’m way too serious. I always have been.
Even as a little kid, I much preferred talking with grown-ups to playing with the other kids. I spent a BBQ debating global warming with my dad’s best friend instead of playing hide and seek with the kids. And I had fun doing it.
But, I needed to lighten up back then. And I still do.
Between my husband and I, I’m the one who enforces bedtime, discourages ice cream consumption at 5pm, and demands fart noises be made outside. For the record, I also question the validity of replacing a bath with swimming in the neighbor’s pool.
It’s especially hard to control my seriousness levels on those days that feel never-ending and I don’t feel like I’m doing enough. Those days spent doing the 12 loads of laundry, cleaning the stacks of dirty dishes, and running around to shop for science project materials due tomorrow.
Who has time to be silly?
Parenting, managing a house, and having a job is serious business.
But I have made a conscious effort to be more fun. To be more silly. To be a parent my kids laugh with.
Because silly equals fun. And fun equals giggles. And giggles equal happy memories.
Our kids won’t remember all the things we did with them or for them, but they will remember how we made them feel.
They will remember if they grew up in a happy home filled with giggles and dessert and spontaneous dance parties in the kitchen.
They will remember if they had a fun, happy childhood.
And they will remember which parent is the “treat giver” (hint: it’s not me).
So, whether you’re an ultra-serious parent (me, me, me!!!), the goofball of the family, or somewhere in between, here’s a list of 35 foolproof ideas you can do to lighten things up in your home and have more fun.
35 Ways to Have More Fun and Be More Silly With Your Kids
1. Celebrate Random Holidays. Like Pickle Day. Pi Day. Lost Sock Memorial Day. These are actual national “holidays.” Really. And you can start celebrating them today because chances are, there’s a holiday you never knew existed that is happening right now.
2. If your kids are complaining about having to walk somewhere, race them to the corner. Without warning them. Take off running and laughing. They won’t be able to not follow you. Or if the thought of running wants to make you throw up a little, skip or gallop with them.
Or bring a scavenger hunt with you! Get them here!
3. Throw some glow sticks in your child’s bath and turn the lights off. Best baths ever.
4. Go puddle jumping (it only counts if you do it too and everyone gets thoroughly soaked.) This one really steps me outside of my comfort zone.
5. Decorate your car with window markers, then surprise your kids in the carpool line. I love doing it on the last day of summer and for birthdays.
6. Break your own rules once in a while and surprise everyone with ice cream for breakfast. It’s in the dairy food group, right? And this way, you can be the “treat giver” once in a while.
7. Have a dance party in your car if you arrive somewhere a little early. This is really only fun when it’s music YOU like. Turn off the Raffi. If you can’t let the hardcore rap fill your kids’ ears yet, try Kidz Bop music. It’s at least better than the Wheels on the Bus.
8. Put neon food coloring into your pancake batter to make rainbow pancakes. Hot pink pancakes taste fun.
9. Draw on your mirrors and sliding glass doors with dry erase markers. Leave messages for each other. Or riddles.
10. Build a fort and climb in there with them. Create a secret password to get inside.
11. If your kids break a family rule, respond with an obnoxious 1980’s game show buzzer sound. ehhhhhhhhhhhh.
12. Buy and read ridiculous books your serious self would never read. Like Chicken Butt by Erica Perl (It’s as obnoxious and hilarious as it sounds) And The Book With No Pictures by BJ Novak or Brian Sendelbach’s The Underpants Zoo.
Our new favorite game now that the kids are older is Beat That.
14. Make up a song with their names in it, even if the lyrics make no sense and you can’t carry a tune. Sing it loudly.
15. Design an obstacle course in your backyard or in your house if the weather’s crummy. Extra points if you do it in a hotel room to keep them busy.
17. Pack a picnic dinner for your living room and eat on the floor.
18. Have a squirt gun fight with them. Show no mercy.
19. Host Backwards Day. Eat dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner.
20. Slow dance with your son or daughter to a song from your junior high years.
21. Teach them how to spider swing with them on your lap, facing you. I can’t stand going to the park, but this I’ll do with pleasure. Or you can try Park Bingo which my kids LOVE.
22. Create a family secret handshake. I would tell you what ours is, but then you’ll have to join the family.
23. Use painter’s tape to mark off a hopscotch game on your floor and show them why you were the 2nd-grade champ.
24. Let them hitch a ride on the side of the shopping cart.
25. Teach them how to blow the paper wrapper off a straw in a restaurant.
26. Enjoy a hot cocoa party in front of the fireplace before bedtime.
27. Squirt a whipped cream mustache on their face for dessert.
28. On April Fool’s Day prank your kids with harmless jokes. My hands down favorite April 1st prank is to switch them into different beds once they fall asleep.
29. Surprise them and celebrate their half birthday with half a cake.
30. Let them finger paint with chocolate pudding on a cookie sheet or on their high chair tray.
31. Encourage them to put on their bathing suits in the bathtub and have a tea party with teacups and bubbles.
32. Give them a stack of toothpicks and marshmallows and see who can make the biggest creation. My kids love doing this with red and green gumdrops in December.
33. Race to see who can get dressed first in the morning. Bonus points because they get dressed without me nagging them!
34. Invest in kinetic sand. Even I love playing with.
35. Host a kitchen dance party with songs you love and an inexpensive disco ball.
BONUS 36: When you chat with your kids about their day and about life, bring some candy into it. Use our Skittles Conversation Starters to talk about trickier subjects like friendship and kindness…but do it while you ‘taste the rainbow’.
Since not all of these ideas will be home run with each of your kids, this has to be an ever growing, ever changing list based on what they find funny. And what you find funny.
Did you notice fart jokes didn’t make my list? They’re not silly. They’re disgusting.
Oh, wait. I’m being too serious again.
Whatever you choose to try, go at it with the same passion your kids have about recess and trick-or-treating and planning their next birthday party.
Because your to-do list will still be there tomorrow. That pile of dirty laundry, dirty dishes and global warming discussions can wait.
Go ahead and throw a bathtub tea party for Barbie and Spiderman. Turn your kitchen into a dance floor. And enjoy every last minute of your child’s giggles.
Life’s too short not to.