Last week, I worked with a 7-year-old kid and when I asked him what mom or dad can do to make him happy, he said, “Be fun”. When I asked him if he liked his teacher, he said with a big smile, “Yes. She’s fun!”
I have heard this phrase from children many times. For them, fun is a currency. It is how they measure their relationships with their parents or with other people. First, you need to be fun. Then, you fit on a scale from “a little fun” to “great fun”.
The opposite of fun is old
I have written about the fun incentive as a motivation tool. It is also a trust tool, because it is a fantastic way to build rapport with your children. From working with many kids and raising my own children, I know that if you are not fun, you are old! Every time they say it, I feel I deserve it.
So as a parent, you need to get into your kids’ “fun club”. If you are in, they consider you as a partner for life and you can instill many thoughts, beliefs and ideas in their mind, as the best role model. If you are not at all in the club, you stand no chance.
In order to join the club, you need to know first what a fun dad and a fun mom are not. There are entry regulations you must follow before you submit an application to join your children’s fun club. The entry regulations for children (much like the ten commandments in the bible) tell you mostly what not to do. So here is a list of things you must follow if you want to be apply to join your kid’s fun club.
- Don’t discipline – It makes us feel like rules are more important than we are.
- Don’t threat – It scares us and makes you a bully.
- Don’t bribe – It only means you are weak and can’t communicate well.
- Don’t punish – You keep telling us to use our words…
- Don’t lecture – It’s boring. Boring is the opposite of fun.
- Don’t be grumpy – It is the opposite of fun.
- Don’t be impatient – Fun requires taking the time to enjoy yourself.
- Don’t nitpick – Our club allows mistakes. We actually learn a lot from them.
- Don’t scream and shout – It makes you look out of control and that’s no fun.
- Don’t tell us that games are a waste of time – For us, they are the essence of life.
- Don’t be a perfectionist – Perfectionism and fun don’t go hand in hand. Fun isn’t perfect. It’s fun.
- Don’t be afraid to make us do things through games – Games are fun. We’ll do lots of things if they are presented as a game. Even math and dishes.
- Don’t think you know better than we do and even if you do, don’t flash it around too much.
- Don’t make a big fuss about poop and farts – They are SO funny.
- Don’t pretend you are not scared – We know you more than you think we do. Really, it is OK to be afraid. We are often afraid, and we play anyway.
- Don’t tell us what to do in order to impress others – We know you are doing it because you are afraid of them. It only makes you look weak to us.
- Don’t be too conscious about what others think about you – Join us in our “silly” games.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously – Make fun of yourself from time to time.
- Don’t micromanage us – We need autonomy to schedule fun in our timetable.
- Don’t fill our time with things to do – It is a lot of fun in doing nothing at all sometimes.
- Don’t be too fussed about rules and regulations – They are good, but not fun.
- Don’t be too fussy about dirt and sand – It comes off in the washing and/or the shower.
- Don’t stress about healthy food too much – There is a lot of fun in eating junk food from time to time.
- Don’t fret about the time we go to sleep – We just want to squeeze in a few more fun moments.
- Don’t worry – It makes us worry too and then we can’t enjoy life as much.
Yes, I know. Not very simple rules to follow, but think of how many rules our kids need to follow to satisfy us. Our list is much bigger.
Try each of them for a while and see, how after three weeks, you are welcome into the fun club.