Settling the kids into school, and into a different routine, has been pretty full on. It’s been hectic, and I’m left with a heavy anxious feeling after I drop the kids to school. I’m not necessarily worried about them — they are doing okay — it’s the after affects of pulling it all together in the morning. It’s not just the normal stuff — lunches, uniforms — it’s trying to be patient while my daughter (with some special needs) adjusts to the new routine, and how this impacts on our family.
It’s a strange thing: I know what is ahead so I get up-tight, and my stress affects her, which makes it worse, so on, so forth. Not that strange I guess. So the merry-go-round is spinning right now. The anxiety is sapping some of my strength but I know things will get easier as we all settle into a routine.
That all brings me to this post: No Time to Be Fun. You know, I think being fun with your kids is not defined so much by the activities you do with your kids, or even what large chunks of time you spend with them, but how you invest in the moments as they happen. How you invest, not in activites, but life. I’m becoming more and more convienced of this truth the longer I parent. I don’t always do it well but I’m aware of it.
Here are some of the ways I incorporate fun things into my everyday life as a parent. It means I still can be fun when it’s not that fun, you know?
I’m very affectionate with my kids. I put my hand on their head when they come stand at my side. I kiss them randomly, and often. I hold their hands. We tickle. And hug. I make a point of making physical connection often.
I work on giving my children my full attention for the 10 seconds they ask a question or make a comment. Just 10 seconds. 10 seconds of absolute, I’m-looking-at-you-right-in-the-eye attention. I can try and do that. Yes.
3. On Their Level
I get down on my children’s level as much as I can. When I talk to my 4-year-old son, I crouch down so we are eye to eye. Getting down on his level is something I’ve come to enjoy. I do it so often now, it’s like a habit and I often get down low; the view of the world is different from down there. I like it.
I love words and using them in my parenting. Here are some examples: The Not So Serious, Serious Word and Words as Concepts. I also use weird jingles the kids will most probably outgrow someday…and when they do, I hope they still humour me and let me do it. One of my favourites is Quick Stick, Bees Knees, which means “Hurry up.”
It’s nice when the kids start to get humour and I can get away with being sarcastic with them. For example: when my 10-year-old is whinging about something really minor, I’ll say, “NO. WAY.” She will laugh and say, “MUM! I’m serious!” Ah yes, a bit of humour goes a long, long way.
My son has a Transformer…doll? Is that what you call it? A doll? Anyway, it says, in that techno voice, “Auto-bots, roll out.” Sometimes, when we get home, I’ll say, “Auto-bots, roll out,” as the children get out of the car. It’s silly, and I usually get a laugh from the kids. I want to connect the things in our lives, and what we do as a family, with the moments we have. Thanks to my husband, Star Wars quotes are often used in conversations at our place too. We one of those families who can have entire conversations through Star Wars quotes. HA! It’s sad really.
My kids constantly remind me how amazing it is to use imagination. We can pretend the car is a plane on a long trip or imagine the bit of dirt in the middle of the lake is a Pirate’s Island. At one of our favourite parks, right next to a lake, there is an island (pictured below). We named it Misty Island and we often talk about what could be over there (even when we are not at the park).
Thumbs up. High five.
Big grin. Bright Eyes.
Soft smile. Small jump.
A word. A hug.
There are million ways I can encourage, give and love through how I express myself, and it really doesn’t take any extra time.
I make a point of smiling when I greet my children after school. “Hi Beautifuls! How was your day?”
I can’t include the children in everything I do but I try when I can. The older 2 girls take turns at pushing the trolley when we shop for food; the younger 2 love helping me with dinner. Those sorts of everyday things can be fun for kids.
10. Share Life
I want to walk beside my kids as we journey through life together. I want to share who I am with them and learn more about who they are. It’s about togetherness.
It all adds up, or so I hope to think. Investing here, giving there. Grasping opportunities and living deliberately. All the little things, the small things, the moments: they add up over time to create something special, memorable…and fun. Do you think?