Yeah, being a playful, positive parent is important. But you may be thinking,
“How can I squeeze in playfulness when I’m already busy?”
Way, way too busy!
“And I’m too stressed to add another item to my overwhelming to-do list.”
Playfulness actually reduces stress.
While it may seem like another task to conquer, being positive and playful reduces your stress… and YOUR child’s stress.
You’ll also spend more quality time connecting with your family, which makes parenting more fun.
The Secret of Playful Positive Parenting
Being a playful, positive parent is easier than you realize.
The secret trick?
Integrate playfulness into your daily activities.
Below are 46 ways you can be a playful, positive parent.
I learned this playful approach from my parents. That’s my mom with my kids when they were much younger (they’re now in their twenties!).
Even at the “Happiest Place on Earth” (ie: Walt Disney World), kids meltdown and drive you crazy, so these playful parenting tricks come in handy—anywhere.
When I became a mom, these techniques were lifesavers, especially as a stressed-out single parent. If this worked for me, it can work for anyone.
Learn how to have more fun as a parent, empower your kids, and spend more quality time connecting.
46 Tips on How to Be a Playful, Positive Parent
Start the Day Playfully
It doesn’t take much effort to begin the morning high-spirited, even before you drink your first cup of coffee.
1. Wake your child by singing a perky song. Sing the same song each day or mix it up with different ones. Go ahead and create your own song customized for your child.
2. High-five everyone on the way out the door, wishing them a great day.
3. Dance around the house. Why walk when it’s more fun to add a bounce to your step. Be like Tigger!
4. Say goodbye in high spirits. The next time you drop off your child at school, turn around with a big smile and joyfully announce, “See you later, alligator!” Then encourage other whimsical responses: “In a while, crocodile” and “Time to go, buffalo.” This simple, cheerful farewell greeting is a great way to start your child’s day.
Laugh and be Silly
You can turn anything mundane into silliness. The most important thing is to let loose, create a safe environment where anything goes, and connect with your child.
5. Use exaggerated expressions and dramatic gestures. When you think you’re being silly, be even sillier.
6. Do funny things with items, like holding a banana like a phone and say, “hello!”
7. Make funny faces. See how many different ways you can distort your face.
8. Talk silly using a made-up language or try using Pig Latin.
9. Have a staring contest. This always seems to make people giggle.
10. Tell jokes. Don’t know any? No worries. The Internet is filled with ideas. You can even ask your Alexa and Google devices.
11. Dress up in different types of outfits. Have fun going through your wardrobe and wearing clothes in different ways.
See this photo? I clearly remember this day. I wanted to put away the laundry, but my kids wanted to play. Getting anything done was hopeless. So, I reached into the laundry basket, grabbed two of my son’s bathing suits, and plopped them on my rambunctious kids’ heads. Instant silliness… and we delivered the clean clothes together.
Add Music to Spice Up Routines
Music livens up anything, especially when it’s your child’s favorites tunes.
12. Turn on upbeat music when you wake up your child. How quickly can they get ready? How many songs did it take?
13. Play music at night during the nighttime routine. If they get ready on time, they get to choose the day’s song.
14. Prepare dinner and set the table with music playing. It’s definitely more fun while bopping to the beat! You can even take time to waltz around the room. Decades later, I still fondly remember dancing around the kitchen with my mom and brother while we prepared dinner.
15. Create a racing game by guessing how many songs it will take to clean up, put away clothes, and do other undesirable chores. To make it more fun, race against the music or count the number of songs until the task is finished.
16. Bathe or shower your child to their favorite music. You can even play bath-related songs. As a toddler, my daughter hated bathtime. I made up a song and we’d joyfully march to the bathtub.
As we all know, physical activity releases endorphins and lowers stress. It’s all good stuff. So, let’s incorporate movement with your child!
17. Go for a walk and get some fresh air. You can walk mindfully holding hands, talk about the day, or play a game counting certain objects in the neighborhood. Whatever just get out and walk.
18. Play music and dance. Hold hands and swing, twirl, and bop around the house.
19. Jump rope, hula-hoop, toss a ball. You name it. Your child loves doing all of these things, especially with a parent.
20. Ride bikes around your neighborhood. Or, be more adventurous and bring the bikes to a park or someplace pretty.
21. Create an obstacle course with challenges that you can do together.
22. Visit a playground, but make sure to interact with your child and don’t just sit on a bench.
23. Wash your car on a hot day. Besides getting a clean car, you’ll get a great workout. It could even turn into a fun water fight.
Do Fun Things at Home
You’ll be amazed at how many things you can do with your child without having to leave your home.
24. Bring out the artistic side and draw, paint, or color.
25. Tell a story aloud, going back and forth adding to what the other person says.
26. Build a fort out of sheets, boxes, and other items.
27. Play board games, cards, or work on a jigsaw puzzle.
28. Bake and decorate cookies or some other type of treat.
29. Cook something fun, like pizzas or tacos.
30. Cuddle and read together, and then talk about what you read.
31. Build something like a garden, LEGO structure, experiment, or DIY projects. The internet is filled with great ideas for various ages.
32. Code a project using free online coding software, like Scratch. It’s not as difficult as you think, and coding builds key 21st-century skills needed to compete in today’s workforce.
Schedule Play Dates with Your Child
Sure, we arrange get-togethers with others, but how about planning something fun you do together. It’s important to try and spend quality one-on-one time with each child.
33. Go out for lunch or ice cream.
34. Visit a zoo, museum, or a local park.
35. See a movie.
36. Paint your own clay piece at one of the ceramic studio stores.
37. Set up a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood or in your backyard.
38. Write ideas on slips of paper and add them to a jar. Then later, you can take turns randomly choosing what to do during your special time together.
Find excuses for celebrations, whether big or small.
39. Celebrate half birthdays. Sing half the birthday song, eat cupcakes, hang up half of the decorations, or do other things. LOL, I still wish my grown kids a happy half birthday via text. “Happy half birthday to you! Happy half birthday to you! Happy half… That’s all you get! :)”
40. Commemorate hitting goals.
41. Acknowledge when someone tries new things.
42. Honor not winning since this is a key part of succeeding. We should recognize our child’s attempts even if it’s a failure because these failures lead to success.
Learn Through Play
While you spend quality time with your child, take advantage of learning opportunities. Before you engage in an activity, get your child excited about the subject. For instance, if you’re going to a zoo, research animals. Use this time to connect while making learning fun. Here are some educational activities related to visiting a zoo.
43. Log onto the zoo website to see which animals are there.
44. Choose your child’s favorite animal and learn more about it. You can research online, get books out of the library, and watch movies about that animal.
45. Write a story and draw pictures. You could even write a story based on your outing.
46. Engage in conversation throughout the day. Talk about what your child liked, how the animals were different than expected, how to build a better zoo, etc.
The Ultimate Playfulness Secret…
Remember to take a moment each day with your child, even if it’s only for fifteen minutes. Get at your child’s level to connect by sitting down or kneeling. Even if your brain is racing with things you need to do, give your full attention.
And don’t forget to put away your phone. 🙂
Did you find any of the above ideas helpful? Do you have your own favorite playful activities? Please share in the comments below.
Don’t worry if your kids are driving you crazy and being playful doesn’t come naturally. You’ll find it easier with practice.
Next time your kids are not cooperating, turn around this stressful situation and make parenting a game. My parents used this trick with me, and it’s how I raised my two kids.
As a stressed-out single parent, this playful approach was a lifesaver.
I share this technique in Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It. Parents are super busy and most don’t have time to read. That’s why I wrote an easy-to-read book with super short, light-hearted chapters and a snarky “let’s-be-real” tone.
In only 5-10 minutes, you’ll learn clever ways to get toddlers, school-age children, and even headstrong kids to cooperate—willingly! You can read whenever you’re waiting or have a spare moment.
You’ll have more fun as a parent, empower your kids, and spend more quality time connecting.
“Luckily, I had the opportunity to check out a new parenting book that is changing the way I parent and leading to more happy days” –Vicki, “Babies to Bookworms” mommy blogger
Still not sure? Read a sample chapter. In a few minutes, you’ll gain new insights… and have a few laughs.