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How to Be a Fun Mom and Playful Parent… in Less Than a Minute (Like Mary Poppins!)

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 are driving you crazy. 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.

My parents had a clever trick to make parenting easier. Instead of nagging and yelling, be like Mary Poppins. With some imagination and playfulness, you can turn those frustrating moments into family fun.

“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and—SNAP!—the job’s a game!”
—Mary Poppins

Sounds daunting, doesn’t it? Well, it doesn’t have to be. Since I was raised with this playful approach, it’s how I raised my two kids. Now I want to share these playful ways with others. You too can be playful… in less than a minute, and your kids will cooperate willingly. You can even get your sick child to drink liquids or encourage your kids to clean the house.

Say goodbye to lots of power struggles.

10 Easy Tips to Be Playful Parent

You can easily access these quick-to-implement approaches with a free printable tips sheet.

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 “Hakuna 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.”

3. Guess

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?”

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 gestures.

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.

5. Sing


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!”

Related Post: How to Make Chores Fun for Kids… and Adults

6. Toss

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 toy 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.

7. 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.

8. Race


Set a timer and race.

You can race while everyone gets ready in the morning…

When you want your kids to clean their room…

Or whenever.

9. 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.”

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.

If your 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.

Yes, this parenting tip takes longer than a minute to set up, but it’s a great way to keep kids occupied. You can find pre-made Bingo grids online, so search Pinterest or Google for free downloads.

Related Post: 10 Playful Tips to Get Your Sick Child Healthy

Want to Stop Struggling with Your Child?

Being a parent is rewarding, but it’s also stressful with the constant push-pull power struggles.

Parents are super busy, right? That’s for sure! Now my kids are grown, but I remember those days where I barely had time to do anything. I was always racing around, attending school events, and taking them to after-school activities. It was especially challenging since I was a stressed-out single parent. Today, life is even busier with smartphones always within reach.

Yes, smartphones! That got me thinking. I could share this effective, playful parenting approach in an entertaining, easy to read way.

We all have spurts of time throughout the day, like waiting in lines, sitting in our car until school finishes… you name it. So, wouldn’t it be nice to quickly share my parents’ creative technique where the messages are told through light-hearted, relatable stories with a “let’s-be-real” tone?

That’s exactly what I did. While waiting, you can take out your smartphone and read a short chapter. In just a few minutes, you’ll be entertained while learning playful ways to deal with everyday parenting frustrations.

Introducing not your typical parenting book: Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It, an Amazon #1 New Release in 7 parenting categories.

Written for busy parents, you can read a standalone, light-hearted chapter in only 5-10 minutes.

Similar to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, the how-to messages are told through enjoyable, anecdotal stories.

Easy to flip through and read by a particular parenting challenge.

Relatable with easy-to-implement playful parenting ideas that also spark your own playfulness.

Check out the glowing 5-star reviews on Amazon.

Yes, I Want It!

(Special Price: eBook only $4.99, Paperback only $8.99)

Testimonials

Read reviews and praises from mommy bloggers, therapists, and parents. Here are a few testimonials:

“It is refreshing to read a book of parenting ideas, that is as much fun to read as the ideas are to implement.” —Deborah Hoffman, speech language pathologist and director of Communication Clubhouse

 

“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

“Love these inspiring stories! They shift unhappy and frustrating moments into fun learning experiences.” –Dr. Alice Wahl Lachman, parent and educator

 

 

“The book is full of creative strategies that solve daily parenting problems, and I loved the author’s let’s-be-real style of writing. She doesn’t paint herself or her kids as perfect people, but she encourages parents to tap into their innate creativity and work with their kids to make life more enjoyable–even while doing all the stuff that doesn’t seem fun at first glance.” –Megan, “The Many Little Joys” mommy blogger

Want a Quick and Fun Way to Learn Playful Parenting?

Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It is not your typical parenting book.

Written for busy parents, you can read a standalone, light-hearted chapter in only 5-10 minutes.

Similar to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, the how-to messages are told through enjoyable, anecdotal stories.

Easy to flip through and read by a particular parenting challenge.

Relatable with easy-to-implement playful parenting ideas that also spark your own playfulness.

An Amazon #1 New Release in 7 parenting categories.

Yes, I Want It!

(Special Price: eBook only $4.99, Paperback only $8.99)

Check out the glowing 5-star reviews on Amazon.


“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

Posted in Parenting Tips

4 Comments

  1. Andrew

    Great tips, practical and helpful. Very specific and detailed instructions on how to generate playful strategies.

  2. Michelle

    Thanks! I didn’t realize this could be that easy. My favorite ones are singing, dancing, and playing music. Very clever!

    • Karen

      Hi Michelle, I’m so glad you found this info helpful! I also like the same ones, but I’ve done them all (and still do!). Thanks for reading and sharing a comment.

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