In the book, Playing For Keeps, Reggie Joiner and Kristen Ivy have identified six things that every kid needs over time (Time, Love, Words, Stories, Tribes, Fun). My focus this week is on the topic of Fun (Lighten it up, Laugh it up and Let it go).
So much of life is very serious. Deadlines to meet, tests to pass, errands to run, chores to do, homework, job expectations, goals to accomplish, etc. Everyone needs reprieve from the intensity of life. Parents need to plan for times each week to have fun!
Lighten it up! Most adults have a tendency to take themselves a little bit too seriously. This intensity may be caused by your image, ego or pride. Adults need to learn how to lighten up and start laughing more. When you stop worrying about what other people may be thinking about you this sets you free to lighten it up. Kids need to have adults in their life who know how to lighten up. Too much intensity pushes kids away. Lightening up often happens through play. Be intentional to think about each child, what they like to do for fun. If something is going to be fun, it has to be fun for your child.
Laugh it up! Laughter is an indication that you enjoy being together with your family and friends. Regina Barreca, Ph.D., says “Laughing together is as close as you can get to a hug without touching.” Storytelling often brings out laughter. Kids love to tell stories about their day. Listen to their stories and you will be laughing with them. Listening to your kids tell their stories provides for them something they desire, focused attention. Kids are more apt to lighten up when their parent can laugh at themselves too.
Let it go! Adults have an agenda most of the time. They have a work agenda and a family agenda. That list that most parents have for their child to do or to achieve can be quit long. It does not make any difference how long a list you have for your child sometimes you need to let that list go for the sake of fun. Kids are much more willing to engage in conversation when they feel a parent is not staring them down. Great conversations can take place during a game of horse or playing catch with a baseball. Reggie Joiner said, “If you love kids, but don’t play with them, they may not feel like you like them.”
Think often about creative ways to have fun with your kids. They might start to think that spending time with you is fun.