How To Be A Fun Parent (Even When You’re Exhausted!)

Do you find that most days you don’t have enough energy for your kids?

This can be a huge source of guilt when it comes to being a parent – we want to play and engage with our kids but we’re just too darn tired.

Parenthood brings with it massive responsibilities on top of the ones we have to deal with by simply being adults. Somewhere in the chaos, there must be a way to find a balance between work and play!

Luckily, there are ways that you can be a fun and exciting parent while also finding time to take care of yourself and your responsibilities.

Curious to learn more? Keep reading to find out how you can be a fun parent even when you’re exhausted:

Let Your Kids Be Bored

In this fast-paced world we live in, there seems to be an expectation that parents need to be go-go-go 24-7 with their children.

The trust is, it’s okay if your kiddos are bored.

Boredom is actually beneficial to your little ones – it encourages imagination and creativity while nurturing their sense of discovery and curiosity. It also helps them build resilience when it comes to making mistakes and not fearing failure.

But with today’s technology, children can simply default to screen-time and zone out on YouTube instead of coming up with their own activities and games.

And the thought of confronting a whiney child because you took away their tablet is enough to make any parent cringe.

Get your kids on track to combatting boredom without the use of screens by setting up open-ended activities like obstacles courses or treasure hunts. You can also provide them with come raw materials to create free-play opportunities like using paper towel rolls to build a marble run.

If your little one is not used to entertaining themselves, it can take some time to get their creative juices flowing. Over time, they’ll come up with new and fun activities which can definitely take a load off your mental plate.

Encourage Independent Play

When your kids learn to stave off boredom, it’s likely they’ll still want you involved in the games. You can ensure your kids are having fun, and give yourself a break, by encouraging independent play.

Independent play helps children develop social independence so, as they get older, they won’t need other people to fulfill their needs. They’ll be capable of finding happiness within themselves.

This will help avoid many social difficulties your little one could face in the future such as co-dependency and introversion.

Just like teaching your child to deal with boredom takes time, independent play does too – especially if your child is accustomed to being entertained by a TV or tablet.

Get them started by setting up play scenarios, like pretend play, a puzzle, a coloring book, etc., and starting a timer. Start small, about 5 minutes, and tell them you will come to see what they’ve done when the timer goes off.

After a while, increase the time period. If you do this regularly, you’ll notice that your little one will start playing independently for longer stretches of time and even without prompting!

Play Without Playing

To your child, you are oftentimes fun enough simply when you show up. You don’t need to put on a show or throw a party – your presence is often enough for your child to feel entertained.

The thing is, though, that sometimes we as parents just don’t wanna.

The solution to this problem is to play without playing! Take playing doctor, for example – your little one can be the doctor while you are the sick patient that has to lay down and act, well, sick.

(Bonus Hack: The “sicker” you are, the longer your child will have to be the doctor!)

Playing without playing is still playing but requires far less energy from you. Your child will be delighted and you can engage with them without burning yourself out.

Think of activities you and your kiddo can do together that don’t require a whole lot of moving such as hide-and-seek or even letting your little one draw your portrait.

Find Common Interests

I can guarantee you that you will never share your little one’s love of Coco Melon. However, as your child gets older, they will begin to develop broader interests and it’s more likely they will enjoy doing things that you love too!

Once you and your child have common interests, you can spend a lot of time together having fun. You won’t even notice how much energy you’re using up when you’re doing something you enjoy too!

If you love drawing, set up an art class with your kiddo. If you like to bake, get your child to measure, pour, and stir.

You may also be surprised how much you enjoy doing what your child loves to do. For instance, I never thought I’d find myself taking an interest in Minecraft, but my daughter and I can spend a lot of time building fancy houses together.

The overall benefit here is that, when you’re doing something you enjoy with your child, it feels less like you’re making an effort to be fun.

Make Everything a Game

It can be hard to get your child involved in the day-to-day care of a household. On one hand, you want them to enjoy their childhood and not be bogged down by

On the other hand, they just don’t want to do chores.

You can unload a lot of your parenting plate and engage with your little one by making everything a game!

Folding laundry? Let’s play a matching game with socks! Sweeping the floor? Two words: Broom Races!

By making chores fun, your child will be more motivated to do them. Plus, they’ll start to learn the value of responsibility while having fun at the same time.

Just don’t stress yourself out about coming up with unique and Pinterest-worthy ideas – just go with whatever idea pops in your head.

Your kids won’t care.

Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself

Being a parent is a 24-7 job and you’re allowed to take breaks. Give yourself permission to say, “Not right now,” or, “I’ll play with you later,” when you just really don’t have the energy to be fun.

Plus, remember, your child isn’t keeping track of the level of fun you bring to the table. They just want you to be there to share in the things they think are fun.

Just think of it this way: Every time your child giggles, laughs, or even smiles, they are having fun.

The highest push on the swing is just as memorable to them as a birthday party. They’ll think about the times you played doctor just as often as those amazing family vacations.

All in all, you don’t need to expel copious amounts of every to be a fun parent!

How do you have fun times with your child without burning out? Share your ideas in the comments!

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