Why work to make life “fun”? It already is!
It seems that some kids nowadays don’t wake up excited about the day – whatever the day. We even hear children whine about privileges, “Awww, do I have to go to hockey practice?” Hockey is a privilege! Some children seem to be losing the reverence for life itself.
Why? We suspect it is because they are learning that everything should be ‘fun’ or have a reward at the end and when it doesn’t; it just isn’t worth considering or enjoying.
A recent TV program suggested that the best parenting decisions involve making things “fun” for children (and to buy their products which helped add to the ‘fun’). One was a reward chart system for kids’ chores and the second was a fancy plate which made eating ‘fun.’
Is it really necessary for parents to be making everything ‘fun’
for kids in order to have them cooperate?” Of course not!
Real life isn’t always fun and children need to learn that they still need to make the best of it and get things done. In fact, if we spend all of our time working so hard to make every little thing ‘fun,’ how will our children learn perseverance, responsibility and resilience?
Learning to handle life’s hardships helps kids learn that they are able. Little lives typically bring little “hardships”: cleaning up toys, going without that extra cookie. Learning to deal with these means learning that they can get through the big hardships which come along later: getting dumped, not getting picked for the team or job they wanted.
Here are five parenting tips:
Parenting with a Plan to help your kid survive real life (not always fun)
1.Awareness: Recognize how much of your life is going into make chores “fun” or “entertaining.” Come to an understanding about the real reasons the task needs to be done.
Eating doesn’t need to be fun – we eat to live; if they are hungry, they’ll eat.
2.Structure and Consistency: When we know the reason for the task, we can then state the expectations and stick to them.
Chores are done to contribute to the family or the community because it is the right thing to do and it feels good to help others.
3.Feelings: We can acknowledge our kids feelings without needing to fix them.
“I know you don’t want to brush your teeth. You don’t have to like it; it just needs to get done. If you want to cry, that’s ok. Your health is your responsibility.”
4.Problem-Solving and Autonomy: Involve the kids in the solution.
We need to figure out a way for this homework to get done without whining. Let’s work together to make a plan – I have some ideas and I’d like your ideas too.
5.Language Of Encouragement: Be careful not to get drawn into talking and reasoning about why a chore needs to happen. This is attention for misbehaviour. Plan a script and stick to it.
“I know you don’t want to do this and I know you can. What’s the next step to getting it done? Where would you like to start?”
The moral of this story is not that kids shouldn’t have fun. It is that when we “make everything fun,” they get distracted from realizing the intrinsically great parts of every day and their own ability to make it through even when things aren’t fun.