Sure, being a fun mom and playful parent sounds wonderful in concept.
But let’s get real.
How can we be fun when we have a ZILLION things on our to-do list AND our kids aren’t cooperating?
I know, this seems REALLY hard when you’re exhausted and the kids aren’t listening. Or worse, when your toddler is about to meltdown and your strong-willed child pushes back even harder.
But being playful actually makes things better, especially since kids love to play.
You Can Be Playful—in Less Than a Minute
AND your kids will cooperate willingly.
Don’t worry. You don’t need to spend a long time playing a board game, building sand castles, or running around outside with your kids.
Instead, be like Mary Poppins.
“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and—SNAP!—the job’s a game!”
With some imagination and playfulness, you can turn those frustrating moments into family fun.
No one likes power struggles. To make this as easy as possible, I’ve included below ten ways you can immediately flip on the playfulness switch.
You may be wondering how I learned this playful approach. Well, it’s based on how my parents raised me… and then how I raised my two kids.
These techniques were lifesavers, especially as a stressed-out single parent. Now I want to share this approach with others.
Check out Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It. Written in a snarky, “let’s-be-real” tone, this entertaining book of easy to read, light-hearted stories inspire clever ways to get your toddlers, school-age children, and even headstrong kids to cooperate—willingly!
And the best news—it costs about the same as a Starbucks Venti Frappuccino… but the benefit lasts a lot longer. Available now at a special price.
Now, onto the parenting tips!
10 Parenting Tips to Be a Fun Mom and Playful Parent
1. Play Music
Next time you want your kids to put away toys, clean up their room, get ready in the morning, or do chores, play their favorite songs.
It’s like magic!
Music energizes tasks, sets a positive mood, and gets people moving faster.
Think of “Hakuana Matata” from The Lion King. This upbeat song will make anyone smile.
Don’t be surprised if suddenly your kids start dancing and singing while they work.
2. March, Hop, or Dance
Why simply walk when you can bounce like Tigger?
When you want your kids to do something, make it more active.
“Let’s march to the sink with dirty dishes.”
“Try skipping while bringing items to your room.”
“Go ahead and wiggle your body while setting the table.”
For a really fun parenting tip, sing like an opera singer.
“Brush your teeeeth! Wash your faaaace!”
Also, you can modify a popular song, like“Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”
“Clean, clean, clean your room, and then we’ll have some fun. Remember to put away your toys, and then you’ll be all done!”
4. Talk Silly
With a big smile, say in Pig Latin, “Ick-pay up-ay our-yay oys-tay.
This will surely catch your kids’ attention and set a playful mood instead of merely demanding, “Pick up your toys!”
This is especially true when you wave your arms, use exaggerated facial expressions, and include dramatic gesture.
Or try speaking like you’re from another planet, using some made-up gibberish. “Adelinkapooly your toys wigglepiggly in your room.”
Whatever you do, just be silly.
Ugh, dirty clothes are scattered everywhere. When you ask your kids to clean up, you merely get scowls and grunts.
Now suggest that they play a tossing game. They stand a few feet away from their hamper and throw the clothes like a basketball. Score!
You can also toss nonbreakable toys into the toys chest. Or pass an item from one person to the next, all the way to where it belongs.
Cleaning up is WAY more fun with this parenting tip.
Set a timer and race.
You can race while everyone gets ready in the morning…
When you want your kids to clean their room…
This is one of my favorite parenting tips: turn tasks into a guessing game.
“How long will it take to put away the toys?”
“Guess how many songs until you get ready for bed?”
“How many things do you need to collect that belong in your room?”
8. Modify Favorite Games
Kids love playing games, so modify popular ones, like “Follow the Leader,” “I Spy,” or “Simon Says.”
Ooh! Who wants to be the first leader and choose what everyone picks up?
Or, how about “I Spy with my little eye something red that needs to be cleaned up.”
Or, “Simon says to wash your face.” “Simon says to brush your teeth.” “Stick out your tongue—wait, I didn’t say ‘Simon Says,’ so you can’t do it.”
9. Use Letters, Numbers, and Colors
Make a game using colors, letters, or numbers.
For instance, pick up everything that’s red. Then have someone shout a color and gather those things.
You can also collect items that start with the same letter. With older children, say the first letter of each item, which is a great way to turn the task into a playful learning opportunity.
If you prefer numbers, you can count aloud the number of books you collect. For instance, look for things that are red… start with the letter “B,” etc.
10. Play Bingo
Kids love Bingo, so create Bingo grids next time you drag your children to the grocery store. This is a great way to avoid complaining kids and dreaded toddler meltdowns.
When kids are too young to read, ask them to look for certain items or colors. What food is red? Let’s look for something yellow. This keeps kids busy even without an official Bingo grid.
We also loved playing Car Bingo during long car rides, like the above example.
Yes, this parenting tip takes longer than a minute to set up, but it’s a great way to keep kids occupied. Luckily, there are plenty of pre-made Bingo grids online, so search Pinterest or Google for free downloads.
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. Which were your favorite examples? Do you have tricks for turning unpleasant situations into something playful?
Turn Chaotic Moments into Cherished Memories
Don’t worry if being playful doesn’t come naturally. You’ll find it easier with practice.
And while it may seem like a lot more work to turn an unpleasant task into a game, it’s better for everyone.
You’ll have more fun as a parent, you’ll empower your kids, and your family will spend more quality time connecting.
If you liked these parenting ideas, check out Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It, which includes many more examples. It’s like curling up with an entertaining fictional book—while also learning useful parenting skills. Click here and save with the intro special.
And the best news—it costs about the same as a Starbucks Venti Frappuccino… but the benefit lasts a lot longer.
Still not sure? Read a sample story. In a few minutes, you’ll gain new insights… and have a few laughs.
“Unlike most parenting books, this one is easy to read and entertaining. Instead of recommending consequences or rewards, this book teaches you how to create games to encourage desired behaviors in your children. What a joy to read!”
–Marli Diniz, marriage & family therapist