If you’re stuck in a rut, if the kids have been moody (or the parents have been moody), or you simply want to add more joy to your family’s day, here are six simple gestures that are sure to put a smile on your family’s faces.
Amp Up a Meal
Another bowl of cereal, another sandwich, another chicken dinner—if your meals have become predictable or monotonous, tweak them just a little to the delight of your family. Add colorful fruit slices as a topping for cereal, have lunch outside for an instant picnic, or serve dinner in the dining room on your fancy china.
By changing the presentation, the setting, or by adding a new ingredient to your regular standbys, you can easily make mealtime a surprising delight.
Laugh It Up
Schedules, chores, to-do lists, deadlines, responsibilities—lighten up, would ya? Sprinkle giggles and silliness throughout your day with the help of the corniest jokes and puns you can find. Here are some examples:
“When is a door not a door? When it’s ajar.”
“Why did the golfer wear two pairs of pants? In case he got a hole in one.”
“Why did the bicycle fall over? Because it was two tired.”
Write them down on note cards or your family’s kitchen whiteboard, tell them at random times throughout the day, or keep a kid-friendly joke book lying around so that everyone can join in the fun.
Whether they elicit eye rolls or belly laughs, you’ll be sure to put a smile on the faces of your family members.
Drop the Routine
Routines can be truly beneficial for families. When things have been humming along consistently for a while, though, it can be really fun to toss the routine out the window and do something spontaneous.
Go out to dinner on a weeknight, play hooky from work and head to the beach, go for a walk after dinner instead of turning on the television, camp out in the living room, or have ice cream for dinner. Shake things up, move things around, and insert new energy into the day-to-day.
Play With Their Toys
Watch your children rejoice when they discover that you’ve rearranged their toys in an unexpected way.
“What’s the pink bunny doing on the ceiling fan? Did your teddy bear build that block castle while you were sleeping? Is that Mr. Potato Head in the fridge!?”
Prepare for giggles when your kids find their favorite toys doing unexpected things around the house.
Sing Silly Songs
“Mommy’s cooking dinner now, EIEIO,” instead of “Old MacDonald had a farm.” You see where this is going. “My kids are playing so nicely, doo dah, doo dah, It makes Mommy so happy, all the doo dah day.” My daughter’s personal favorite: “Everyday I’m snuggling,” followed by the running man.
Sing and dance your way throughout the day. Sure, they may think you’ve lost it, but that’s part of the charm.
Surprise Someone Else
Activities that encourage compassion and thinking of others are winners on all fronts. Have your children mail some of their artwork to Grandma, help make a special dinner for Dad, or bring homemade food to a neighbor.
Helping them brighten someone else’s day may be the best way to brighten your family’s day.