As a mom of five, we had to have schedules and boundaries in order for everything to flow smoothly. Yet I also wanted to make life in our family fun. That’s why breaking the rules occasionally was so welcome—and healthy—for our family.
One of the best secrets I realized early on as a mom was that you don’t have to spend a lot of money in order for everyone to have a good time doing something together. I was especially grateful for that during those years when money was tight. Actually, the family activities that are most remembered were those when we just broke the rules temporarily.
Of course, I’m not talking about letting up on vital household chores or safety. Just simply flexing a little—doing things that kids aren’t usually allowed to do, yet won’t do any harm when a parent gives permission.
- Getting wet. Imagine your family is at the lake, taking a nice family stroll one evening. Your youngest child asks if he can take his shoes off and just get his feet wet. You hesitate. What will happen if you even let the kids get near the water. Yes, they may get their clothes wet. So, the answer is no. But what if you reconsidered for a moment. What if….they do get wet? What if….their clothes get soaked and you have to wash them? What if…they have to ride in the car sitting on a blanket because of soggy bottoms? What’s the worst thing that would happen? You change your mind and tell the kids not only can they put their feet in, they can get as wet as they want! Mom is now an absolute hero. And it cost you little more than a bit of inconvenience for them to be overwhelmed with fun.
Eating dessert first. This is a standard no-no where children are concerned. In fact, dessert is normally not even doled out until the dinner plate is empty. But what if you changed that rule…..just for one night? You’re serving pizza for dinner anyway and you know every one of your children will eat their fair share. So you announce that tonight we are having cookies before we eat our dinner! Overhearing your children brag on your decision that night will make the entire incident well worth it. And it will reinforce their faith in you as a fun Mom.
Jumping on a mattress. I’m not talking about doing this at someone else’s house, or at a hotel. But, at home, take the mattress off of one of your beds and set it on the floor in the family room. Let them jump and play on it for a day. Maybe even set it on the stairway and slide down on it—if it can be done fairly safely. This was always a blast for my kids. Just be sure your children understand that this is not the norm.
You get the idea. You can come up with others by just listening to what your kids are asking for. Thinking a little outside the box and dare to let go a little.
Notice that each of the examples above don’t cost any money. They only cost you your willingness to allow something out of the ordinary.
So, moms, loosen up every once in a while. Do something unexpected. Make it the exception, not the norm—but do break the rules occasionally. It’s healthy for you and for your kids. And it will do a lot to deepen your relationship.
Question: How do you surprise your kids in breaking the rules occasionally? Share your answer in the comments below.