Sep 21, 2020
In the mad rush of day to day living, especially in these trying times, we can forget to find opportunities for our families to relax and have fun together. But having fun is an essential part of growing up. It’s also critical to building a strong, resilient family. Here are eight reasons that remind us why having fun together as a family is essential.
The family that plays together stays together. While this old axiom is true, play also serves to strengthen the family bond when you do something together that is simply fun. These are the bonds that can last a lifetime. Fun also provides an opportunity to build important family traditions. Family board game night or a trip to the ice cream shop for Friday night dessert or the family football game on Saturday afternoon are all excellent examples. These are the good times and memories that your children will carry with them forever and can even help them deal with more challenging times in their lives.
Pure, unadulterated fun is the best stress reliever for children and adults. Is the return to school stressing your family out? Take some time and go on an adventure. Drop everything, including your worries and just be spontaneous, laugh and giggle. There are always opportunities to have fun, and as parents, we have the choice to either minimize the fun or maximize the fun. Choose to maximize it.
Is your family feeling a little stressed? Are there conflicts between family members? A little bit of play can go a long way to helping solve these problems. Apart from solving immediate issues, having fun can help your child build critical problem-solving skills. Children learn how to diffuse difficult situations and deal with their negative thoughts or feelings in a more positive way.
This is the thing we associate most often with fun. And it’s an important reason to create opportunities for your family to have fun. Boredom can lead to negative behaviors, including frustration, hostility or even depression. Fun can provide the necessary distraction that helps your child avoid those negative behaviors. At the same time, a little bit of fun can do wonders for you as well.
The more time we take to have fun and enjoy life, the more your child can discover. Even something as simple as going for a walk can reveal something new. Family fun inevitably provides opportunities to mix in a little subtle learning. Consider what you can discover from a family visit to a pond at the local park or by building a Lego metropolis together in the basement.
While all fun activities do not enhance physical skills, they are part of many. Everything from fine motor skills to strength and agility can be boosted through fun. Consider engaging in fun activities that enhance the skills your child needs work on but also the skills they have mastered. The key here is to not eliminate the fun for your child in favor of forcing a new skill on them.
Every time you allow your child to tell a knock-knock joke, they are building communication skills. They’re also improving their presentation skills and, one hopes, their comedic timing. The same is true of other forms of play, whether that is telling stories together, playing a board game or challenging them to a game of 21 on the court. Through fun, your child is building a more robust vocabulary, learning to self-advocate and even negotiate.
The ability to have fun and be fun is an attractive personality trait that your child can achieve tremendous social benefit from. It can help your child build critical social skills they can transfer later to help them make friends in school or deal with new situations. They will pick up more quickly on necessary social cues, and again, this will aid them throughout their lives. Examples of these social cues include knowing when they’ve gone too far or when someone else is no longer having fun. Your child will also learn to successfully and tactfully communicate when they’re ready to move on to something else.
Keep in mind that there is real fun, and then there is fake fun. Fake fun is the kind where the euphoria induced by laughter and enjoyment of the moment doesn’t last and is replaced by a feeling of emptiness or worse, more negative emotions. It often happens when an activity is forced or prefaced by a command that comes across to everyone as, “we’re going to do this, and we are going to have fun.” The added implication there is, “whether you like it or not.”
Instead, look for opportunities to have fun organically. Try a few things out. You’ll know you’re having real fun when you can do something over and over again and still enjoy doing it.