Don't Worry, Be Happy!

Jill Notkin
January 22, 2010

Kids, by nature, are happy little beings. They seem to find pleasure in the smallest things -- an empty box, for example, can provide more excitement than the actual toy. A cookie cut in a fun shape is so much yummier than a plain old treat. And a blanket featuring a favorite character is much cozier than something simple.

It's clear that any diversion from the norm is uber-exciting for a child. And excitement contributes to happiness. And a happy child means happy parents.

Some ways to spice up your child's routine by adding some fun to it are:

1. Have a picnic. Yes, it's below zero outside but who says you need sunshine and green grass to enjoy a picnic? Start by making some food with your child -- sandwiches, mac 'n cheese, anything not too messy. Pack it in a bag or basket. Lay a blanket out in the playroom or living room and bam! Instant picnic!

2. Bath art. Baths can be a bore but including fun in bath-time is easy! Buy some bath crayons or better -- make your own!  

3. Dress-up. Let your child loose in your closet -- they LOVE acting "grown-up" and wearing adult clothes! But don't be surprised if your little boy takes a liking to your high heels!

4. Bake. Every child enjoys baking. Find a fun and simple recipe and don't be afraid to let your child pour, shake, and mix. Check your control at the door though, and remember the idea is to have FUN.

5. Breakfast for dinner. What's more fun than having chocolate chip pancakes at the wrong time of the day? Buy little tubes of frosting and let them decorate to their heart's content.

6. One-on-one time. Whether it's a lunch together, a special trip, simply a day at the park or a plain old playdate, children cherish alone time with their grown-ups.   

7. Dance parties. Seriously! Install an iPod dock in the kitchen/living room/dining room and shake your booties! Soon your kids will be making song requests. And you'll be making memories.

8. Go out for ice cream, even if it's 5 o'clock! Not every day, of course, but when your family needs a little pick-me-up, a small treat, even at an unconventional time, might be the answer.

9. Have a "lazy" day. Pajamas, carpet-picnics, movies, and relaxation. It's a special day when it's not so scheduled.

10. Kids' choice. In other words, ask them what they want to do! Either give them three really fun choices, or let them tell you what they would like to do. Empower them with their own decision making!

Memories are made every day, don't take any day for granted -- you never know what tomorrow will bring. 


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