Sometimes we get in a rut as individuals, but other times it feels like the whole family is tired or grumpy and we need to switch things up to change the mood or just have some fun. When we need to switch it up these go to things never fail to give us life and make us all loosen up a bit.
- Get Outside
When the kids are getting restless in the house and the bickering starts, this is our go-to move. Getting outside changes everyone’s mood almost instantaneously. For us, this usually means heading straight to the beach, but the main point is to get outside somewhere where kids can be kids, un-tethered to run and play. Go to the park, take a walk or hike, or go on a family bike ride. Anything outside is always fun!
- Rough House
If your family is anything like ours, snuggling on the couch often quickly turns to wrestle mania. As a mom of all boys, I have found that for many boys in particular, this is their love language. I can’t really explain it, but there is a bond that happens between us when we let things get a little rowdy, when pillows are being thrown and the boys are running around red-faced and wild-eyed couch cushions and nerf bullets flying. Obviously, be careful not to let things get out of hand or too rough, but a light rough housing and game of chase around the house is such a great and free way to lighten things up and have fun together.
- Play a Sport Together
When we have free time as a family and don’t want to load up a ton of gear for the beach or bike riding, we simply grab a soccer ball or basketball and head over to the local school in our neighborhood and play. Even when we are a little grouchy or irritable, this seems to always do the trick to lighten things up. Inevitably, our competitive nature kicks in and our simple game of family soccer will turn into all out screaming and laughing (and many times cheating, eh-hem, Phil) which is just the best. Playing a sport together, whether anyone is good at it or not, is a fun way to bond and enjoy each other. One of the things that I’ve found is that when we are doing an activity together, the kids will open up and share things that they normally wouldn’t share. In the in between spaces of kicking around a soccer ball or passing a baseball, they will share meaningful things about their lives and open up in ways that don’t always happen face to face. Sometimes the casual, non-rushed, side by side nature of enjoying one another allows for a different kind of openness.
- Take a Roadtrip
I love road trips! Despite 1,000 “are we there yets,” and the 400 pit stops and the incessant, “He touched me!”, I love getting out of town and being on the open road together. Somehow the spontaneous singing to our favorites songs, the endless eye-spy games, and the mandatory road trip junk food all adds to the experience. And something about getting out of our routines and being in a different environment together makes for special memories.
- Have a Dance Party
I always say this, but when all else fails, dance it out. When the toddler is losing his mind over getting the wrong color truck and when the pre-teen is rolling her eyes at you, turn up the music and dance it out. Make a fool of yourself. Let loose and sing and dance and if the kids are playing too cool and won’t join in- tell them they can either do chores or join you (this one always works for me). Or even better, get one of those Just Dance video games (who cares if it’s way old news) and laugh at each other as you try and follow along to the moves. No one can be grumpy when they are dancing along to Pharrell’s, Happy, I promise.
Ok, well that was fun. I feel like I need to go out and practice one of these things now! What do you do as a family or with friends that gives you life? We would love for you to share your fun with us!