Cook together! Although cooking can be messy, kids often have a blast when they cook something with you that they’re really excited to eat.
Discover ways to have fun when your kids want you to do something over and over and over. After awhile, games can become stale to you—but still fun to your kids. Find a way to inject some fun into activities that become routine for you.
Focus on your overall parenting goal: raising successful, competent kids. You cannot do this if you’re never setting limits.
Encourage your kids to try different forms of physical activity. Exercise isn’t fun if it’s boring—or if it becomes a chore. Keep trying different types of exercise until your child finds something that interests her.
Recognize that kids will act out when they’re stressed or you’re stressed. Take time to calm down and strategize about what you really want from your kids (such as helping them grow up well) rather than what you immediately want from them (such as becoming quiet).
Balance the amount of times you say yes and the times you say no to your child. You don’t want to refuse everything your child asks for, but you also don’t want to give in every time. Work on making your yeses more about creative ways to assert your values and boundaries in a positive way.
Make your home a fun place. Some families put up a basketball hoop. Others create an area for teens to hang or play video games. Some have scrapbooking supplies or other crafts for kids. Others stock the fridge.
Be sensitive to what embarrasses your child. Young teens in particular can be extremely self-conscious. Connect with them in playful ways but notice when your child’s mood starts to change.
Don’t ask children if they’ve told the truth; this can corner them into telling another lie. Instead, say something like, “It can be hard to tell the truth sometimes. It’s okay for you to make a mistake, but it isn’t okay for you to lie about what happened.”