December 15, 2020
The most fun family that I know is my own. I don’t say that to brag, but I love spending time with them, dreaming, vacationing, playing games, and exploring with them. They are my people. I’m grateful to be part of a family that pushes me to embrace having fun even when a tower of tasks are looming. Having a fun family requires intention. There are a few secrets of being a fun family that I have learned.
While it is fun to be spontaneous too often the schedule of everyday life takes over and squeezes out the time it takes to have fun. Have any of you had a scenario like this? You wake up on a Saturday morning hoping to do something fun with the family. Before lunchtime you realize you need to get a haircut, groceries and pick up the dry cleaning. There goes the day. Fun families plan ahead. They set aside the time and resources to have fun together. My family makes a habit almost every quarter to go on a short trip. The trips have ranged from a day hike in Sedona to an overnight stay at a local resort where we hang out by the pool. The thing that made it possible was the planning.
Think about your favorite home to visit as a child? Maybe it was a friend’s house or your grandparents home, but it probably had something fun you liked to do there. Have toys and spaces that encourage fun. Get a trampoline, build a creative space, have a “playroom”. If space is limited don’t despair. I have friends who converted a closet into a kids “hideout”. You wouldn’t believe the fun that little crawl space has had. The point is to create an environment that fosters the fun.
This could be the biggest habit of fun families. They prioritize family time over spending time with others or work etc. More than once our kiddos have asked to do something and it was followed by the phrase, “just us?” Our kiddos are getting to ages where they want to spend more and more time with friends so it is incredibly important that we continue to protect the “just us” family time.
Fun families create together. In the traditional sense of being creative they might paint, or build, or cook something as a creative expression. In a more broad sense of being creative they dream together about where they might visit, live one day, become as individuals and as a family. They also get creative in disappointment. Every family experiences setbacks, disappointments and restrictions. However, when we experience these things we get creative. Brainstorm as a family last minute activities you can do together. Keep your ideas in a jar and when you have an unscheduled day plan to draw an idea from the jar.
Who doesn’t love a good surprise? My husband is the king of planning surprise trips, outings and gifts. Not only has he regularly planned sweet date nights and weekend getaways but he loves surprising the kids. Even small surprises like going out for ice cream or leaving unexpected notes in lunch boxes build a culture that wonders what might happen next. It is fun to be with people who seek to delight and shock you in astonishing ways.
While this cannot happen every night of the week we do have dinner as a family at least 1-2 per week. Even though it isn’t viewed as a fun family activity, it builds connection and opens communication. At the dinner table we learn how everybody is doing. How they are feeling and what they are struggling with. We also take this opportunity to get feedback on what we would like to do and experience as a family. We dream at the dinner table.
Fun families allow themselves to be goofy. They have inside jokes and poke fun at one another without demeaning each other. We take silly photos and try to embarrass our children as often as possible. Mostly, we want them to know that being yourself and being silly helps you not take life too seriously. My son inspires me with his dance moves in the outfield. He marches to his own drumbeat and it is hilarious. His teammates love it and get on board with cheering him on. You see, being silly and having fun is contagious.
Fun families plan to have fun, they create spaces and places that encourage fun, they spend time together sharing and dreaming, they build and create things, they surprise each other, eat together, and make a habit of being silly. Creating a family culture of fun doesn’t happen on it’s own, it is something you have to intentionally do. I have to remind myself daily that while the tasks, chores, and homework has to get done it is just as important to have a little fun. I’m grateful that I have three fun people in my family! How do you have fun with your family? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.