I love family. And I love fun. Don’t you? Well, of course, you do, so let’s talk about putting those two loves together under one roof. YOURS!
The definition of FUN is enjoyment, amusement, lighthearted pleasure, playful behavior, or good humor.
Our home is really the only place where we can control the environment. It's a sacred space for our existence, and we should protect that atmosphere in every possible way. Physically, we provide locks, dead-bolts, guard dogs, security systems, doorbell cameras, and more to keep us safe inside. Mentally/intellectually, we carefully choose the books and screen time we feel is best. Spiritually, we are blessed to freely live out our faith expression. These are all very important for the family we love. And our emotional wellbeing is equally valuable to the healthy environment and the atmosphere under our roof, so let’s talk about increasing the fun factor in your family.
We are one-of-a-kind, individual, unique humans. Dr. Suess says it the best, “There is no one alive that is you-er than you!” Your kids are also individuals, and they really love being treated like individuals. Each are unique in their skills and abilities, learning preferences, communication styles, and love languages, as well as how they manage and handle stress.
As you know, stress and stress management is a very big topic these days, on which I have done a number of webinars, corporate trainings (live and recorded). I have written on the topic of stress management more than any other topic in the past 15 months. I have looked at it from all sides: science, hormone, physical conditions, etc. But I focus on stress management, and mostly practical tips and tricks that are useful to the average person. All this concentration on stress raises my stress where even talking about stress is stressful!
But since I believe whatever I focus on becomes clearer, I will choose to focus on fun! In all of my personal management of s-word (stress), I always come back to this very basic, but powerfully essential truth: if I am having fun, I am not you-know-what! When we are having fun, thinking about having fun, planning to have fun, enjoying unexpected fun, or in any way focused on FUN, we are providing a fantastic environment for our family, and each individual will benefit greatly from it. So, my prescription for you is simple: HAVE FUN.
Here are some practical ways to create a safe, wonderful home environment and be known as the fun family.
Wherever you are . . . be there.
No one ever said they wished they’d spent more time at work. So, balance work but make time to play. Kids need to understand the value of working for a living and the benefits of the income that is received through a hard work ethic and responsibility for a family. We do well to remember that more is caught than taught. What our kids see is what they tend to follow. “Do as I say, not as I do.” is not a good parenting approach to this or any other area, really.
You are never too old for fun and games.
Never, ever lose the desire to climb a tree, swing on a swing, or run through the sprinklers. Literally, schedule play time! This is where even a bad plan is better than no plan.
- Follow the Leader to get everyone moving and laughing!
- Red light/Green light or Mother May I allows you to sit if that is more your style!
- Musical Chairs is great with good wholesome music to reinforce physical, emotional, and spiritual activity!
- Act it Out is our family favorite and is always fun! Write several simple action-oriented phases on strips of paper e.g. putting on a coat, jumping rope, reading the paper, kissing (that one is always worth a belly-laugh)!
Our home, no matter what size, has always had an area for puzzles, a closet for board games, a table for puzzles; even an above-ground swimming pool, and a pool table in a couple! To us, it was a necessary expense for our family fun, and we believed it should always be in the family budget. To this day, our house has a game room with a ping pong table, electronic basketball for two, a whole bookshelf dedicated to board games, a puzzle table, and we are empty nesters! FUN does not have an expiration date!
Create fun nicknames.
My husband, Jack, is “Captain Click-a-Lot” for his penchant for computer browsing. My grandson, Caleb, is “Peach” and he is 20 years old. He calls me Nana and he will always be my Peach. My granddaughter, Isabella, is my “Sweet Pea” and our youngest granddaughter, Reegan, is my “Peanut.” When they come to our house, we play games and have fun, and laughter is abundant. When they leave for their home out of state, I find notes on my whiteboard or hand-written notes signed by their pet names. They love it because it is FUN. What are pet names for you and your family members? Please tell me they are affirming, and not demeaning in anyway, since this article is about family FUN.
Tell your family fun stories!
Relive some fun things, and get everyone involved. You can even relive some of the non-fun things with a sense of humor and laugh it off. We are human. My motto this year is "live a fulfilling life, not a perfect life." Fun makes life worth living, so have a lot of it!
Enjoy a few of my own. When our youngest son, Chad, was 4 years old, my mother and I were shopping in K-Mart (like a Walmart in the olden days) around the holidays. The store was very busy. Mom and I were taking turns with the boys, so that we could shop for them without them being around to see our choices. An announcement came over the loudspeaker, “Mrs. Wickwilliam, paging Mrs. Wickwilliam. We have your son, Chad at the Front Desk. It took me about 10-seconds to realize that I was the mother being paged! Our son’s full name is Chadwick and his middle name is William, so in his sweetest 4-year-old voice, he had put his first and second name together into one name! I will forever be known as Mrs. Wickwilliam! I was so embarrassed and totally humiliated, but mostly I was horrified! He is now in his 40s, and we still relive this story with an abundance of laughter. Him, poking fun at me for “losing him” and me asking him if he has gotten his name down yet!
Our oldest son, Jeremy, is famous in our family for creating words that do not exist. They are close to a word, or the combination of two words sometimes, and other times, they are just Jeremy’s way of communicating. We, and others, get drawn in, tip our heads pondering and searching to find the word in our memory-bank, afraid to be ignorant if such a sophisticated word, actually exists, but then we burst out in laughter as we realized that it is absolutely not a word and that he had, yet again, manipulated the English language to invent a word that he felt conveyed more appropriately what he was trying to say! We love this about Jeremy. He refused to be limited by the dictionary (a big book that we all used to look up words for spelling, pronunciation, and definition), and though the teachers may not have appreciated his creative verbal skills, he has done quite well for himself and his family.
Get your kids to buy-in.
Ask your kids if you are a fun family. (Right now, go on, ask them!) Let them take some ownership. It isn’t all up to you, but you will need to say yes to some of their ideas to get this working. Ask: What do you think? How would you like to help? Where do you feel we could use more fun? How can we increase the fun factor in our family?
The point is: Laugh A LOT as a family. Be “The Fun Family” and enjoy every minute of it! Now, go have some fun!
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– Stephanie Wolfe, NBC-HWC
Health Advisor | Email Stephanie