Sneaky Fun; Play With Your Kids and Still Get the Job Done

by Colleen Langenfeld

“Mom, I’m bored!”

“Dad, play with me!!”

Sound familiar?

one that need to be done (including the toughest job of all, parenting). These SneIf you’re a parent, these plaintive cries from your children can become daily shouts. As busy moms and dads, we’re continuously torn by the demands on our time. Here are some simple ways to spend time with your kids while getting the jobs daky Fun ideas are also great ways to teach our children exactly how to successfully accomplish many routine tasks.

- Make a silly dinner together.
Think ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ or try a picnic on the living room floor. Bring your child along for the meal planning, shopping, prep time and clean-up. Involve them each step of the way.

- Turn on the music and clean, clean, clean.
Forget TELLING your kids to go clean; side-by-side, with some of their favorite music playing, move through the house dancing and cleaning. They’ll love it (and so will you).

- Exercise together.
You know you need to do it. Your child is your perfect exercise partner. Make it a ‘talk and play’ time and you’ll both get fit together.

- Share a hobby.
Love to fish, garden, sew, paint, sing? Share that love with your youngster. Try an interest that fascinates them. Learn a shared passion – together.

- Start a girls or boys night out.
You will make an incredible impression with this one. Take your daughter out for regular manicures and lunch. Stay close to your son with a favorite concert or sporting event. Teach your children about wholesome entertainment and the joy of healthy relationships. You can even team up with another parent and child for regular fun; just make sure that honest conversation is the true priority.

- Improve their skills.
Do you have a student struggling with homework? Quit nagging and ask them to teach YOU what they’ve learned. Be a patient listener. The fastest way to learn is often to teach.

- Wash the cars.
Need I say more? Water, the chance to soak mom or dad, and a sense of accomplishment when it’s all done. Follow up with an ice cream cone for a job well done.

- Growing things.
Countless gardeners have discovered deep satisfaction in sharing their love of growing things with children and grandchildren. Gardening is a useful de-stressing tool and the most frustrated child tends to loosen up and share their heart while getting their hands dirty alongside a trusted adult.

- Plan, plan, plan.
If your household is anything like mine, it benefits greatly when I take the time to map out regular activities. Menu-planning, budgeting and vacationing come to mind, for starters. Show your child (of the appropriate age) how to use their time and money wisely by including them in the planning of everyday family activities. As they mature, they can easily be put in charge of some of these planning sessions, teaching them to younger siblings. Your trust and belief in your kids can ease the stress on them as they grow, too.

- Organize.
Almost all families struggle with organization in some area. Truth be told, we’re simply busy people and have often outgrown the simplistic organizing methods that once worked just fine. Give your kids the opportunity to be the creative organizer in your family. Whether its making sense of the family photos or tackling the hall closet, do it with them to get the job done and make a memory that’s shared.

- Schedule the fun.
Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. Try scheduling a set time of fun in exchange for a set time of work. For example, Monday can be family board game night while Saturday morning sees the family hard at work in the yard. Sometimes it’s easier for kids to see the point when it’s a straight trade off of time and energy.

The idea here is simple and clear. Use everyday activities to build relationships and teach responsibility. After all, everybody wins when ‘fun’ becomes a part of daily life!

About the Author: Colleen Langenfeld energizes busy working mothers with career, organizing, meal-planning, parenting ideas and more using the free Working Mothers Great Idea Kit at


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