It’s easy to get busy once the new year starts and children head back to school. Here’s how you can still have fun with them.
The school holidays are over and you’re starting to worry about the year’s worth of syllabus up ahead. But don’t neglect fun. Time spent together as a family is important because it makes kids feel loved and secure, and gives them to assurance that you will be there for them no matter what happens. To start, here are some simple ideas to create fun for the whole family.
Celebrate Everything, Even Failures!
Celebrate every small, medium and large occasions; such as the start of the school term with a special meal or after dinner, Kids celebrate and get excited about the start of the school holidays, so why not make it a family tradition to celebrate the start of the school as well? This can reinforce the value of education and learning it.
Another more bizarre –but essential– reason to get out the balloons is the first “F” or less ideal score mark. It is common to celebrate good test results, but children can learn from failure too. When that happens, debrief about what can be done to make incremental change, affirm him of your unconditional love and talk about how one can learn from mistakes and bounce back.
Be Involved In Everything
Regular scheduled family time is important and has more impact than an intensive time spent during the school holidays. With the start of the new school year, your children might change to a class with new classmates and teachers. Be involved and take an interest in getting to know their teachers and friends, possibly even through a simple gathering at your home.
Don’t embarrass your children in public, but have fun in private at home. One example is to have impromptu dance parties and your children will roll in giggles seeing their parents do a silly looking dance.
Alternatively, make up silly songs or rap, challenge the kids to a competition of walking backwards for one whole day or use chopsticks to eat peanuts. It can be educational, for e.g. having a game to catch each other speaking English when it’s an Speak-Mandarin Day.
Do Things Together
Spring cleaning the house together before Chinese New Year is a great family project, although your children might beg to differ. Get your children excited, involved and have a sense of ownership by letting them redecorate or even paint their own bedroom. The project may take longer and the end result might not be as ideal if you had done it, but remember that it’s all about enjoying the process.
Another fun project to do together is to celebrate different cultures during public holidays. For e.g. during Deepavali, borrow books about Indian culture, take them on an “excursion” to Little India to see the lights, get a henna, or cook or order Indian food.
Get Outside Together
Set aside a regular sports day for the family to exercise together. It can be a simple post-dinner walk around the neighbourhood, or play simple games like badminton, or a morning stroll around the reservoir or parks on the weekends.
Exercise can help relieve stress and increase endorphins – those feel-good transmitters. It’ll improve your mood and sleep, too.
Originally published in “Keeping The Fun In Your Family”, written by Agnes Goh from Focus On The Family Singapore, in Singapore’s Child Jan 2013.