Your kids are fussing, not listening, and melting down. You’re exhausted, frustrated, and ready to scream. Raising kids is challenging, so how do you enjoy parenting?
Here’s the trick: become a playful parent.
Playfulness reduces your stress and it also decreases your child’s stress level. It’s a powerful way to connect with your children. You may be thinking, “How can I be playful when I’m already busy? I’m too stressed to add another item to my overwhelming to-do list.”
Well, being playful is easier than you think and doesn’t have to take much time. All you need to do is integrate playfulness into your daily activities. It’s your attitude and how you relate to your children.
46 Tips to Enjoy Parenting
The following tips are organized by these categories:
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.
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 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.
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. 🙂
Free Printable Tip Sheet
Download a free printable tips sheet with 10 quick to implement ideas.
Learn How to Be a Playful Parent
Turn everyday frustrating moments into fun learning experiences.
I share this playful approach in an entertaining, easy to read book, Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It. Written for busy parents, learn how to playfully stop struggling with your toddlers and school-age children. The how-to messages are shared through amusing stories, and the down-to-earth tone leaves you feeling encouraged.
♥ You’ll make parenting more fun
♥ You’ll empower your kids
♥ Your family will spend more time connecting
“Love these inspiring stories! They shift unhappy and frustrating moments into fun learning experiences.”
–Dr. Alice Wahl Lachman, parent and educator
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Here’s to enjoying parenting!