Play With Your Kids and Still Get the Job Done
By Colleen Langenfeld
"Mom, I'm bored!"
"Dad, play with me!!"
If you're a parent, these plaintive cries from your children can
become daily shouts. As busy moms and dads, we're continuously torn by the
demands on our time. Here are some simple ways to spend time with your kids
while getting the jobs done that need to be done (including the toughest job of
all, parenting). These Sneaky Fun ideas are also great ways to teach our
children exactly how to successfully accomplish many routine tasks.
- Make a silly dinner together. Think 'Green Eggs and Ham' or
try a picnic on the living room floor. Bring your child along for the meal
planning, shopping, prep time and clean-up. Involve them each step of the way.
- Turn on the music and clean, clean, clean. Forget TELLING your
kids to go clean; side-by-side, with some of their favorite music playing, move
through the house dancing and cleaning. They'll love it (and so will you).
- Exercise together. You know you need to do it. Your child is
your perfect exercise partner. Make it a 'talk and play' time and you'll both
get fit together.
- Share a hobby. Love to fish, garden, sew, paint, sing? Share
that love with your youngster. Try an interest that fascinates them. Learn a
shared passion - together.
- Start a girls or boys night out. You will make an incredible
impression with this one. Take your daughter out for regular manicures and
lunch. Stay close to your son with a favorite concert or sporting event. Teach
your children about wholesome entertainment and the joy of healthy
relationships. You can even team up with another parent and child for regular
fun; just make sure that honest conversation is the true priority.
- Improve their skills. Do you have a student struggling with
homework? Quit nagging and ask them to teach YOU what they've learned. Be a
patient listener. The fastest way to learn is often to teach.
- Wash the cars. Need I say more? Water, the chance to soak mom
or dad, and a sense of accomplishment when it's all done. Follow up with an ice
cream cone for a job well done.
- Growing things. Countless gardeners have discovered deep
satisfaction in sharing their love of growing things with children and
grandchildren. Gardening is a useful de-stressing tool and the most frustrated
child tends to loosen up and share their heart while getting their hands dirty
alongside a trusted adult.
- Plan, plan, plan. If your household is anything like mine, it
benefits greatly when I take the time to map out regular activities.
Menu-planning, budgeting and vacationing come to mind, for starters. Show your
child (of the appropriate age) how to use their time and money wisely by
including them in the planning of everyday family activities. As they mature,
they can easily be put in charge of some of these planning sessions, teaching
them to younger siblings. Your trust and belief in your kids can ease the stress
on them as they grow, too.
- Organize. Almost all families struggle with organization in
some area. Truth be told, we're simply busy people and have often outgrown the
simplistic organizing methods that once worked just fine. Give your kids the
opportunity to be the creative organizer in your family. Whether its making
sense of the family photos or tackling the hall closet, do it with them to get
the job done and make a memory that's shared.
- Schedule the fun. Sometimes the best defense is a good
offense. Try scheduling a set time of fun in exchange for a set time of work.
For example, Monday can be family board game night while Saturday morning sees
the family hard at work in the yard. Sometimes it's easier for kids to see the
point when it's a straight trade off of time and energy.
The idea here is simple and clear. Use everyday activities to
build relationships and teach responsibility. After all, everybody wins when
'fun' becomes a part of daily life!
Colleen Langenfeld helps working moms build strong families and careers.
Discover simple ways to make your home and family healthier by visiting
and clicking on the happy kids picture now!