It’s easy to get hung up on overcomplicating how to be a fun mom. Crafts aren’t your thing. Your body can’t handle jumping on a trampoline. Getting lost in a game of imagination doesn’t come easy. What’s left? How can you find ways to be a fun mom when it doesn’t come easy and you’re just not feeling it? Learn how to be a fun mom the simple way!
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I was always a bit-too-mature-for-my-age kid.
Come to think of it; I don’t remember truly “playing” very much at all. I do have one video of my dad chasing me or following me or something. I was giggling, and it must have been a fun time.
I’ve been diligent in looking for signs of precociousness with my kids for this reason. I don’t want them growing up too fast. Once a day is over, it’s over. Gone. Never to get it back. Many of those sweet childhood days need to be filled with fun and joy while developing their future selves.
Simple Is Fun
One way I have had to be intentional to do that is by having fun with my kids, on purpose. For whatever reason, it took me a while to understand how simple this can be. I blame my overachiever-perfectionist personality.
I would get caught up thinking I needed to put on a 3 act puppet show, complete with stage and lights, in order to be fun. Let’s just be honest… that just doesn’t sound like something you or I will be doing!
Being a fun mom doesn’t have to be a major production. Your child is actually pretty easy to please when it comes to having fun. The best things you can do are simple. And the way to do them is just to do it.
Is there a process for being a fun mom?
Well, yes. I have a process for everything… so here we go.
How to be a Happy Mom and Have Fun
Step 1. Embrace simplicity.
Remember, the stage and lights are not necessary. Stop thinking “stage and lights” and start thinking “tube sock on your hand!” Quit thinking – a trip to the water park and start thinking mini squirt guns inside the house. Stop thinking you don’t have enough ideas for charades and just be a tree or a table or a rock!
Step 2. Live in the moment (from time to time.)
Every day your mind is filled with thoughts of how your child will turn out. Am I making the right discipline decisions? Should I loosen up? Tighten up? Save a bit of brain power for a question like this: “What can I do right this moment to make my child laugh?”
Step 3. Play younger.
Let me explain this one. If you’ve ever spent any amount of time around little league baseball, you know what the term “play up” means. Some kids have above average ability for their age, so they play on a baseball team that is actually a step above their age division.
Do the opposite when it comes to playing with your child. Whatever you think she’s “too old” for, she probably still loves. You’ll help her hold on to her precious childhood as long as possible by not sweeping away fun things prematurely.
Step 4. Try to say yes.
Yes and No. Both of these words should be in your parenting vocabulary. They serve different purposes and are equally important. Don’t allow this to confuse you. Trying to say yes does not mean some convoluted way to spin every possible child training experience into a positive experience. Trying to say yes means asking yourself, “What’s it really going to hurt if he wears batman jammies to church?!” If you can say yes, and it doesn’t have any negative eternal impact, and it’ll make your child smile… then say yes.
Step 5. Get over yourself.
And of course, I mean that in the most loving way possible, really I do. Getting over yourself allows you to do a lot of things better. Being a fun mom is certainly one of them. No one cares as much about how you look or act than you do. Have fun. Laugh for no reason. Burst into song. Make funny faces. Kiss with fishy lips.
Now that you’re ready to stop over-thinking how to be a fun mom, let’s spell it out in real life application. What are some actual ways you can be fun? Some real-life ideas of day-to-day smile-makers?
How to be a Fun Mom The Simple Way – 10 Real-Life Fun Ideas
#1. Chase him.
- As I think back on the video I mentioned earlier, I feel like I remember this day with my dad. I probably don’t. It’s likely only the video creating a memory that only feels real. Nonetheless, it feels fun. There’s something about a game of chase that makes a child squeal with delight. (this is one of those ‘don’t stop doing it because you think your child is too old’) Play “I’m gonna get ya!”
#2. Surprise her.
- What I really mean here is an intense game of peek-a-boo. You know, when you’re in the kitchen and you hear your little one plodding over to you, so you hide behind a wall and peer out and say “Peek-a-boo!” When she passes by.
#3. Play along.
- When you’re walking throughout the grocery store or mall, join in whatever game your child has going on, or initiate one yourself. My kids have gone through MANY grocery store phases. At one point, they collected as many twisty ties off the floor as they could find. Then they went through a spy phase (they actually still do this a lot.) Set some ground rules, such as No disturbing other shoppers; then find a simple way to join in the imaginary game.
#4. Hide and seek.
- This means so much to a child. When you play a game at whatever level she is able, the impression it makes on her heart is this: “I am capable! I can play this big game with Mommy!” My 3-year-old’s favorite place to hide is in a spare tire. He just sits in it, right in plain sight. He is happy to hide over and over in that tire, only to hear me say, “I found you!” Over and over after counting to 5. Doesn’t get much easier than that.
#5. Let him help.
- When you’re cooking, baking, or cleaning, your child is going to want to help. It is SO VERY easy to say no. It’s easy to say that mommy needs to do it. After all, you just want to get it done. You’re likely in a hurry for some reason.
- But if you’ll just let him put on an apron, and help in some small way, you’ll be doing big, big things for his confidence, brain development, and heart. Pouring a tsp of salt in, using the pepper shaker, or stirring a few seconds with a spoon are all ways to let him help, that won’t hurt anything. Really, I promise it won’t!
- Another favorite way I “let him help” is by washing windows. I have a spray bottle of vinegar and water premixed and ready to go. Anytime I am cleaning and my 3-year-old wants to help with duties other than his normal toy-pick-up responsibilities, I hand him a rag and the spray bottle. He goes to town spraying and wiping. And even if he sprays himself in the face… it’s vinegar. No harm, no foul.
#6. Make a big deal.
- Get excited about what your child gets excited about. Practice your big “WOAH, that’s SO amazing” face! Much of the world is amazing to a child. And even if you can’t see it in the same amazing way, you can pretend to.
#7. Have a coffee date.
- Alone time is so important to any child. Period. No exceptions. And the funny thing is, even an only child wants alone time. Because the thing about alone time is… it’s intentional. Take your morning coffee or tea outside and bring your child with you. Pour a little warm juice into a cup to serve as her “coffee” and spend some time chatting in the brisk morning air. Oh my goodness… just talking about this feels like love!
#8. Save Amazon boxes.
- I have 4 children and it always seems like there are never enough boxes to go around. A child’s imagination is really unmatched. My kids use boxes for everything from “homes” for their stuffed animals to canvases for painting or coloring with markers. Instead of recycling or throwing them right away, let your child create something or use her imagination with it first.
#9. Question game at dinner.
- Ask fun or silly open-ended questions at meal time. Regardless of your child’s age and response, ask a question such as: “If you had to eat one food every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?” Your child will remember how fun Mommy was when she asked off-the-wall random questions at meal time! Find more question ideas here.
#10. Greet your child every morning.
- This is about more than just being a fun mom. Every morning when I wake my youngest up, I sing to him: “Good Morning… MY BAY-BEEEE!!” The biggest smile comes across his face. And I know he’ll grow to remember how funny mom was each morning and how special it made him feel!
Being a Fun Mom is ‘Seriously’ Not as Difficult as You Think.
It’s easy in the midst of all the #adulting that we have to do every day to forget what fun feels like. Fun for your child is different than fun for you.
Fun – does not have to be a production. And fun certainly does not have to be difficult or tedious. If you allow yourself to keep being uptight because you think fun – isn’t who you are, you’re going to miss out on a crap-ton of chances to speak to and reach your child’s heart!
Take the first 5 steps listed above to a mindset-shift of what fun is. Then grab a few of the real-life examples listed and start doing them every day. Then add some more and come up with your own! Consider what your child will remember most about her childhood. Be a fun mom, while the fun is simple!