Top Ten Ways to Shake Up Your Week as a Parent
Sometimes we need to break out of a routine to find the joy in parenting.
I think all parents at some point hit a rut. Life becomes this endless rotation of to-do lists. We switch to auto-pilot and forget just how fun being a parent can be. I understand it is hard, believe me, I know what a midnight cry over ice cream feels like.
When you feel yourself switching over to Robo-Mom (or Dad), I beg you to take a moment to recharge. Yes, parenting is hard, but it is also rewarding and can be full of laughter if you disconnect from the obligations for just a bit.
It's easier than you think.
I'm not talking about yearly vacations that can often be more work than relaxation (especially with young children!). I just mean mid-week spur of the moment decisions. Every once in awhile, you just have to shake things up. Let your kids know that life is supposed to be more than routine.
Here is my top ten list of ways to shake up your week.
10. Feed the ducks.
Grab some bread and head to the lake. It may seem like something boring, but as the birds start gathering around your little ones, their faces will light up! My six-year-old especially loved this outing.
9. Have dessert before dinner.
Yes, we want to have healthy children, but what's the point of life if you can't go a little wild on occasion?
8. Let your kids give directions.
If you have plenty of time to get where you are going, let your kids decide which ways to turn. Maybe they tell you to turn left when you should really turn right, but they will love getting to be in control for a moment.
7. Play a prank on a family member.
Of course, don't damage any property, but sometimes a well placed whoopee cushion can light up a young child's day better than anything. And being co-conspirators gives you something to bond over.
6. Have a dance-off.
Turn the music up loud and shake your groove thing. Being a mom doesn't mean you can't be fun too.
5. Race to the car.
Sometimes just to keep my kids on their toes, I have to shout, "Beat you to the car!" and run out of the house. It works in two ways. First, it is just fun. Secondly, my son is about the slowest person in the world when it is time to get out of the house and it never fails to speed him up!
4. Play in the rain.
Now, use your judgement here. If you are hearing tornado sirens, pack this one away for another day. But sometimes getting soaking wet for no reason and jumping in puddles is just the recipe for shaking up your life.
3. Roll down hills.
Being someone your kids want to hang out with sometimes means acting like a kid yourself. Not only does rolling down a good hill make my kids feel happy, but it makes me feel 20 years younger.
2. Camp out in the living room.
I know we really like sleeping in our own beds as adults, but setting up a blanket fort and committing to the idea for the whole night will make you a hero in your child's eyes. Sometimes we just pop some popcorn and watch a movie, other times we imagine we are really out in the woods.
1. The best thing I know to shake up your world and be a little spontaneous is to listen to your kids.
Know when they need you to be a little bit more than the rule setter and know what kinds of things would interest them specifically. Are they really into firefighters? Call the firehouse and see if you can come by for a meet and greet. If they love machines and fixing things, pop open the hood of the car and teach them how to check the oil. If they are little artists, take them to an art museum. No one knows your child better than you, and sometimes instead of dismissing their ideas because we MUST be too busy, just go with them.
We can't always break the routine. It exists for a reason so we can check off as many things as possible from that to-do list. But sometimes we have to see ourselves as more than maids and chauffeurs. We should enjoy our children and the limited time we have we them. So go forth and shake things up!