It’s April Fool’s Day! What do you expect will happen? Some people dread this holiday. Others skip it. But if you’re a parent, it’s likely that your kids will do something to celebrate it. So make this a day to have some fun! Consider these ideas.
• Have fun! Consider April Fool’s Day to be a holiday to teach kids appropriate ways to pull harmless pranks, be silly, and enjoy themselves. Kids who learn how to find the right balance of trickery without hurting anyone’s feelings are likely to have strong social skills.
• Talk about pacing to help your kid be an expert prankster. The best April Fool’s jokes come when people least expect them. That’s why commenting about all the snow outside when your child first wakes up (when there is not a snowflake around) works well; sleepy kids often forget that it’s April Fool’s Day.
• Expect some mishaps. Having a sense of humor that’s funny for everyone isn’t easy to develop quickly. Applaud what your child is doing well. Point out how to be funny without making anyone feel hurt or harassed.
If You Have a Toddler or Elementary School-Aged Kid:
• Teach young children how to sneak up on someone and say “boo.” Although family members will probably hear young children coming, have them pretend to get scared and enjoy a good laugh.
• Incorporate some magic tricks into April Fool’s Day. Kids love magic, and some magic tricks add a fun way to celebrate the day.
• Help your child find funny, clean jokes to tell. Try these.
• Pull small pranks that get kids laughing. Place rubber worms in between the sheets (down near where their toes go). Make meatloaf in cupcake holders and frost with mashed potatoes. Freeze raisins in ice cube trays and then claim there are bugs floating in your drinks.
• Read books about April Fool’s Day. Consider April Foolishness by Teresa Bateman, April Fool! by Karen Gray Ruelle, and April Fool’s Day by Melissa Schiller.
• Fake your kids out with a special April Fool’s Day breakfast. Try “Fakin’ and Eggs” from Family Fun Magazine.
If You Have a Tween or Teen:
• You may not like the pranks kids pull on you at this age, but they enjoy pulling them on each other. Don’t be surprised if they switch the salt with the sugar or put plastic wrap under the toilet seat.
• Make sure that the way your children celebrate April Fool’s Day doesn’t go too far out of bounds. Kids at this age like to push the limits. Be aware that some kids are more tolerant of how others push the limits as well.
• Don’t be surprised if your child thinks April Fool’s Day is a stupid holiday and refuses to play along. That’s okay too. Follow your child’s lead.
• Want to avoid getting fooled? Some older teenagers like to play with language as a way to trick people. For example, some teenagers like to tell guys that their zipper is up. Most guys will look down, not catching what the person said ; )
• You often can catch your older teenager by surprise with a farce that gets their hearts beating faster, such as Mom saying she’s pregnant, or Dad announcing the family is moving to remote part of Wyoming next month, or that you’re selling the family van to buy a motorcycle. If you keep a serious face, you can often fool an older teenager for quite a while. (But watch out: next year, your teenager will have a good one for you.)
How do you celebrate April Fool’s Day?
*Image via Westside Shooter on Flick’r