|Photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography|
Walk to the store! Leave your car at home and walk to your local quick stop or grocery store for those little necessities. Play I spy or watch for different colors of car as you go. Suddenly everyday drudgery becomes a special fun experience for you and the kids.
Think outside the bread and make meal time more fun. It's much more fun to eat a peanut butter on a rolled up tortilla or to have your apple made into a ladybug. Kids eat better when they're enjoying themselves.
Parent playfully! Avoid the no-win daily power struggles of parenting by approaching them through play. In our house, when our son isn't listening, everyone can start to get frustrated and angry. Now we play the "Oh, no! Are your ears broken game?" We pretend to look inside them, dig for wax, etc until we're both feeling more light-hearted.
Go on adventures with your kids instead of running errands. Make grocery shopping into a safari by hunting for items you've cut from the store ad. Pretend you are journeying out in a spaceship instead of your minivan, and you'll find that boring trip to the hardware store is as cool as a trip to the park.
Use puppets for storytime. We read books every night, and a lot of times, my son wants to read the same books over and over. Breathe new life into beloved books for both parties by making a few simple sock puppets. Let your child help tell the story.
Go swimming even in October! Who wants to take a boring bath? Turn bath time into swim time and encourage your child to splash around and pretend to swim while you scrub them down. Pretty soon they won't even realize you're washing their hair.
Pump up the jams and get the sillies out. When it's time for me to nurse the baby or plan my menu, it can be hard to convince my son to let me. A quick station creation on Pandora provides hours of music set to your tastes that will keep your little one moving even during down time.
Give them a rag and a spray bottle of vinegar water and let them go to town while you clean the bathroom. It turns out that doing chores can be lots of fun if they have something safe to spray. Since the solution is non-toxic, you can relax and let them have fun.
Sing a song. Mary Poppins knew that song is a powerful way to make anything more fun! Turn off NPR and sing your kids' favorite tunes loudly in the car. Engage them in a round of Old McDonald while you make dinner.
Make picking up playtime by playing I Spy instead of pointing at items to clean up. When your little one has made a big mess, turn cleaning into a game by asking them to find something green to pick up or tell them you spot a bear on the loose. Kids will enjoy cleaning up as much as getting it all out.
Finding a fun way to look at your routine makes it less ho-hum and helps your child to think outside the box while encouraging development of their imagination and creativity. Just remember what Mary says: "In ev'ry job that must be done there is an element of fun. You find the fun and snap! Thejob's a game!"
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