“Okay, everyone – raise your hands if you think parades are fun!”
Yes, it’ Mardi Gras time down here in Cajun Country. And, truth be told, my family and I are not really into the whole parade scene. But they do certainly represent high energy fun in a very special way. So I thought this would be a good time to remind us all of one very important element of family life…
For some families, it can be easy at times to forget how important it is to play, laugh, and enjoy life together. This is especially true during difficult seasons when teens may be particularly agitated, contrary, or distant. When times get tough, sometimes the parenting default becomes correction, lectures, scrutinizing, excessive monitoring, and punishment. Not much fun at all – is it? While it is important to watch, correct, and discipline throughout our kids lives, and sometimes especially during teen turbulence, sometimes we just need to break up the serious grind by having some good fun. Here are a few practical ways you can bring a smile to the faces of your family and remind everyone that life is still good and joy is still readily available to anyone who seeks it:
- Play a board, card, dice or other variety of game together. Yes, you’ve likely heard me emphasize this before. Because it is such a great way to invigorate family life!
- Have a family video game challenge or tournament. And let your teens or kids pick the game. Sure, they’ll likely destroy you if it’s their pick. But don’t you think that will be more fun for them, anyway? : )
- Karaoke night. If you can find a family-friendly place nearby that has an organized karaoke night, go for it. If not, create your own. If your teens think it would add to the fun, invite some family friends or let them invite some good buds.
- Give each of your kids a chance to pick a fun family activity. Rotate turns, so everyone gets to pick from time to time. And feel free to put a reasonable dollar limit on it. This really is a good way to show your kids and teens they still have a genuine voice in the functioning of your family life.
- Family role play drama time. Plan a time where each family member gets to put on their best performance at acting out the part of another family member. In order to help keep this a fairly positive and fun activity, have an award ready to present to the one voted Best Actor.
- Family Triathlon/Pentathlon/Decathlon. No, this one isn’t for hard core fitness families, only. Plan a weekend or longer, depending on the number and types of events involved. Each family member gets to determine one “event” in which the entire family must compete. It can be anything that every family member has at least a reasonable shot at accomplishing. Laundry speed folding, jigsaw puzzle racing, high score on Plants vs Zombies, basketball free throw shooting, gaining the most views on YouTube within a set time, etc. – anything your family members would consider a fun way to compete. The prize goes to family member who racks up the highest total score on all combined events. Make it annual event with a serious trophy. Who ways we can’t get serious about family fun?!
Whatever you do, just remember to Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!