Would your children consider you a fun mom? Or do you bark orders all day stressing about getting chores and schoolwork done? By nighttime you fall in bed feeling guilty that you didn’t spend more quality time with them, and then you wake up and do the same discouraging routine all over again. Is that you?
Don’t get me wrong. Routine is good and life isn’t all about fun. But without some joyful and lighthearted moments, children get burnt out easily. Even in the midst of stressful times they need to know that it’s ok to laugh – as long as they keep it under control.
The longer I’m a mother the more I learn to enjoy my children and laugh with them. That might sound strange to some, but mothering was a rocky road in the beginning for me. We were blessed with a child who cried for the first 4 months of his life. By the time the second child came along exactly two years later, I was so exhausted from my adrenal fatigue that I was in bed at night before my boys were.
It was hard to find joy some days.
I learned many things through those trials, and as my children are getting older I want to create memories with them. Fun times they will remember, because believe me the orders get barked here and the night time comes along with a guilty mom some days.
Here are 10 different ways our family has fun together. (Affiliate Links Included)
1. Have slumber parties together! Our children absolutely love it when we declare it a slumber party night. We have let them build a tent in our room (which is very small) and sleep under it together. Sometimes the boys might be gone at their nana’s for the night and so the girls get to sleep in our room. Other times my husband will go in their room and sleep. This doesn’t happen all the time, but it is super special when it does. Yes it gets crazy and we have to finally tell them to be quiet and go to sleep. But I’m sure they will remember those nights when they are older.
2. Go on a pajama drive! The first time we did this, some of our children actually cried while we were out. They were so mortified that they were out in their pajamas, even though we didn’t see anyone! Now they love it and ask when we get to do another one. Around 7:00 we tell the children to get their pajamas on, and then we surprise them and instruct them to get their shoes and coats and run to the van. Then we drive around in the country, telling stories or singing songs and just have fun together. Family time does not have to be expensive or elaborate!
3. Instead of a tea party, have a chocolate milk party! My sister and I did not like tea growing up (actually it’s still not our favorite thing as adults) so my mom always had a chocolate milk or juice party with us. We have tea cups and snacks and light candles and just talk.
4. Have tickle time together. I’m sure every family does this one, but we all love to wrestle and tickle each other. My husband normally starts it with the boys, and sometimes I go over and try to help the innocent victim, or contribute to the tickling!
5. Dance with your children! I absolutely love doing this. We turn on fun music and have goofy times of dancing, or turn on pretty music (soundtracks to Jane Austen movies work great!) and try some refined dancing. When I can convince my husband to join us then it’s really fun! 🙂
6. Have movie nights together. We are pretty strict about what we let our children watch, so it’s actually hard to have movie nights as a family. A few movies we have watched together have been Pollyanna (I like this version better then the old Disney version), a few episodes of Little House on the Prairie, and Anne of Green Gables. There have been some older movies (normally about animals) but I can’t remember the names now. In every movie there is always something we have to stop and explain or make sure they know we don’t approve of the behavior of the child.
7. Play games as a family. We are still building up a collection of games that are good for a range of ages. Our oldest is 10 and our youngest child that can play games just turned 4. The best game we have found to span the ages is Uno Attack. Our children can play it as young as 3, and before they really get it they love being the one in charge of pushing the button. A few other games we are enjoying are Walk the Dogs and Blokus.
8. Do simple activities together, like shopping, going to the library or the park. It doesn’t have to be fancy, our children know we stay home a lot. When we go to the library the children have a blast, and they always thank me for taking them when we leave! When the weather is nice the park is a fun place to stop at, or just taking one or two children along on a shopping trip makes them feel special.
9. Play basketball together. I’ll admit right up front, this is a guys game in our family. But it really does involve our whole family. We have an indoor basketball goal that my husband and sons play with every week (I highly recommend this one, it has held up extremely well for over a year now!). As I get dinner ready they play a game, rack up the points, and cheer each other on. My husband started a fun game of shoot to win…if you make this shot you get a treat, or you get to do something special.
10. Surprise them with a special treat! Our children love it when I surprise them with homemade cookies, or dessert after dinner when they were least expecting it. Sometimes we have taken them to Chick-Fil-A for ice cream, and that is special for them.
I’d love to hear what ideas you can add to this list!