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Have fun as a family

... without wearing ourselves out on more activities.
family having fun together
Posted April 29, 2013

Fun is not just a thing we do, it’s a value we have.

Think about five words you’d like to be able to use to describe your family—if ‘fun’ is one of those words, then this starts with incorporating fun into everyday attitudes.

There is some truth to the adage, ‘If Mum and Dad are happy, everyone’s happy’. Our state of mind directly affects our children, so we sometimes need to choose our mood. Children look to us for love, security, protection and stability, so mood swings and inconsistency can be confusing. That’s why we may have to fake it till we make it.

Anna Luther, author of 75 Ways to Have More Fun at Home, tells a story of how she woke up to hear her two daughters fighting, and felt she couldn’t face the day. So she put on an old ball gown and announced she was ‘Princess Anna’. The girls’ fighting, as well as Mum’s low mood, disappeared as they all began having fun together. This is a good example of how we can choose a response, despite how we feel, that will actually change our family dynamic.

Another way to have more fun, especially over the holidays, is to adopt a ‘just say yes’ attitude. If you find yourself saying ‘no’ to your children, ask yourself why. Is it because they’re asking for something that’s dangerous or inappropriate, or is your negativity for some other reason?

Luther says, ‘I can say no to my kids’ requests over and over again, until I stop myself and think, “Why is the answer ‘no’?” ... Is it because I don’t feel like getting something out or making a mess, or actually playing with my kids? Just say yes! Yes, we can stay in our pyjamas until noon, or drive the car (without keys), or help unload the groceries.’

Messes can be cleaned up, and once we start having fun with our kids, it stops feeling like such hard work.

Things will fall apart at times—it’s impossible to never get angry and to always have fun. But if we continue to remind ourselves of our family values, it changes our outlook, which trickles down to our children. We’ll find humour in our own way and learn to choose more positive reactions. If we think of ourselves as fun, we’ll eventually start acting more fun. A spilled ice cream won’t make us angry, it will make us laugh (after we’ve wiped up the tears and bought a new ice cream, of course).

* Go to  www.my life and kids.com for more of Anna Luther’s insights, including her book 75 Ways to Have More Fun at Home.