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Friday, October 31, 2014

11 Wholesome Ingredients for Happy Children

Photo by Joe Shlabotnik (Flickr)

As a parent, keeping your child happy comes along with the territory. We all want our children to grow up feeling happy and loved, but it doesn't always exactly come easy. There will be struggles, plenty of them, and at times, we won't be able to control whether they're happy or not. However, with that said, we can do the best we can to ensure that they are happy. That's part of the job of being a parent, right?

With my children now, I've realized over the years the things that can be done to help make them happy. Some of these are things that you may not have necessarily thought of at first, but it's important to realize what it takes to accomplish this.

Here are 11 wholesome ingredients for happy children.

  1. Allow Playtime: After the stresses of things like school, always ensure that you allow your children to have some playtime. Whether it's giving them some alone time to play some games or playing games with the family, give them that time. They're young, so let them enjoy themselves.
  2. Consistent Sleep is Key: It's important that from a young age you work to get your child on a good sleep schedule. If they don't get enough sleep, they'll be exhausted, which will only lead to them being unhappy. It's not rocket science: Better sleep leads to better and happier moods.
  3. Yelling Doesn't Work: Do you know what doesn't accomplish anything? Yelling. Yelling is a waste of time and will only stress both you and your child out, and it's no secret that stress doesn't equate to happiness.
  4. Offer Praise: When it's deserved, praise your child for something outstanding that they've done. It could be chores around the house or a good grade on their homework, but by praising them, they'll be happy to know that their hard work and dedication is definitely paying off.
  5. It's OK to Fail: Pressure can really get to children, so let them know that they don't always need to be perfect. Teach them that while they should always try their hardest at everything they do, it's OK to fail at times.
  6. One Thing at a Time: When people get overwhelmed, they become unhappy, and it's the same with children. From a young age, teach your child to always take things "one thing at a time."
  7. Have Family Dinners: Turn off the television at dinner time, and make sure that everyone puts their smartphones away. Have a family dinner: Talk, discuss your days, and everyone will be a whole lot happier.
  8. Be a Role Model: You're the biggest influencer on your child, so it's important to be happy yourself. If you're not happy with yourself, your negative energy will rub off on your child, and it will become difficult for them to be truly happy.
  9. Teach Responsibility: Children want to feel both happy and independent, and one way to accomplish this as a parent is to give them some responsibility to handle. Who wants to do some chores?
  10. Always Listen: In the digital age that we're living in, it's easy to get distracted by things like our smartphones and laptops, but put those things down and listen to your children. Let them be heard, and let them feel heard. Show them that you care, and they'll be happier as a result to know that you're there.
  11. Let Them Decide: Allow your children to make their own choices. During their childhood, it's you that makes the majority of the decisions, so when the opportunities arise for them to make their own, let them do just that. They'll feel more independent and thus happier at the same time.

In what ways do you try to make your children happy? Also, do you practice any of the above tips in regard to keeping your child's mood on the up? Let us and our other readers know by leaving your thoughts in the comments section below.

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Brain Loves to Play, and Here's Why!

Photo by JE Theriot (Flickr)

The brain loves to play! Just like it performs miraculous magic tricks as you sleep and age-defying somersaults when you exercise, the brain blossoms during play. Recreation serves our brains in a juicy variety of ways: for children, it is key for neurological development, and for adults, it eases stress and anxiety. I think it's safe to say that playtime is one of life's most fun, exciting choices of brain food!

Let's dive a bit deeper into why a child's budding brain needs to play freely and frequently. We all want our children to learn. If school is a delicious buffet of knowledge, recess is the sitting area where kids can enjoy, digest, reflect, and engage upon what they've learned. Active play energizes the cognitive mind and optimizes information absorption. On top of the glorious benefits of play, physical activity alone does wonders for a kid's brain and body health!

No matter how old you are, who doesn't love to play? While providing more playful opportunities to our children, we should join them to boost our own brainpower! Here are 7 reasons why the brain is built and nourished by play.

  1. Creativity Ensues: Did you know that LEGO comes from the Danish words "leg godt"? This translates to "play well". It's fitting that one of the most creative toys has such a clever name. That's because play supercharges creativity. It invites children and adults to explore new connections and discover the power of their hands. Ideas spring naturally from a brain that is fluid and free thanks to play.
  2. Keep on Learning: Play is a brain's absolute favorite way to learn. It's how we've been learning all along - experimentation, mixing, tinkering, adventuring, and imagining. A child or adult at play is also learning about themselves. Trial and error in the safe, soothing environment of play reveals strengths, weaknesses, cognitive styles, and more.
  3. Challenge Yourself: A playful attitude can make challenges seem less overwhelming and more fun. For example, imagine a group of children pretending to be firemen. Their objective is to slide UP the playground pole because the "stairs" back to home base are out of order. It's no easy feat, but the pretend play scenario fuels their dedication to the activity. They communicate, brainstorm ideas, and work together, all while having a merry time!
  4. Relieve Stress: Chronic stress is bad news for your brain. Adults and children are affected by it. Play is an essential reprieve to the bombardment of information we receive daily. Not only does it help us process it, play encourages us to uncoil any emotions that have bottled up. This is especially crucial for kids as they become familiar with healthy ways to express themselves. Overall, play waters and weeds the garden of our minds.
  5. Improve Relationships With Others: Confidence and communication are big building blocks for healthy relationships. In the pretend play firemen scenario, those kids were bouncing ideas around with each other, working as a team to surmount the pole. As adults play a board game, they learn about each other in a lively, stress-free setting. In solo play, we find our inner voice and nourish talents we are proud of.
  6. Learn About Teamwork: Researchers have discovered a connection between frequent cooperation and neuron complexity. With that in mind, imagine a spirited sports game, an intense volleyball tournament, or those firemen on the playground again. They are all at play, cooperating heartily. Play helps their brains become more open, pliant, and adaptive.
  7. Just Have Fun: Science aside, just having fun is healthy for your brain. We all need to unwind and socialize, kids and adults alike. Life is meant to be lived. Play is personal and unique to every individual, so I encourage you and your children to find your flavors!

Why does your brain love to play? What has ample playtime done for your kiddos? We want to hear from your side of the playful spectrum, so please drop a comment below. Play on, my friends!

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

9 Ways Parenting is Scarier Than All Horror Movies Ever

Photo by Howard Lake (Flickr)

Disclaimer: I mean all of this in a fun-loving, affectionate manner! After all, parenthood is wonderful in all its squishy, panicky splendor. But let's be blunt; it can be downright horrifying. Why else would children's toys be so instinctively ominous to us in horror movies? It's burned into our psyches! Parenthood is scary. Unidentifiable liquids, otherworldly screams and creepily profound questions, oh my! Kids even transform our homes into ramshackle ruins haunted by clutter and monstrous science experiments. But of course, despite all this, we brave the uncharted territory of parenthood, guided by the light of our love. Right?

Despite our wisdom on how to survive an actual horror movie, we'll always come running when we hear strange noises from their chambers. We'll intentionally lock ourselves in closed quarters (like planes) with the (cute) beasts. And yes, we'll taste the fiendish concoctions that they brew up as they cackle over their Easy- Bake ovens. With Halloween lurking just around the corner, let's have fun and draw playful parallels between parenthood and horror flicks. After all, both are spooky and both thrill us!

Here are nine ways that parenting is scarier than a horror film.

  1. Night Terrors: You wake up, heart galloping at a sickening pace. Dread chills your spine. You know it's there. You know it's watching you. That silhouette at the foot of your bed... The shadowy form of your sleepless child! Or if they're crib-bound - the screaming, oh, the screaming! The sleep deprivation alone can turn your waking moments into a psychological thriller. My horror flick survival tip? Do what you can to tame the "little monsters" by building up to a solid sleep schedule for the whole family.
  2. Who's Hungry? Sometimes kids hide food. We shudder to think of the reasons; Strange rituals, feeding pet monsters in the closet, crafting grotesque effigies, hoarding to prepare for a zombie apocalypse, and tossing scraps to the imprisoned babysitter under the bed are just a whisper of the chilling possibilities. In all seriousness, hoarding can be a symptom of food anxieties. This article offers many wonderful tips on how to help heal this emotional difficulty.
  3. Let's Play a Game: Play is an intense ordeal for children. They are learning, exploring, interacting, and defining themselves. What happens if they lose a game? Will the pendulum of their mood swing to catastrophic or carefree? Your fate, or the fate of the offending sibling, hangs in the balance. In reality, play is a wonderful way for children to discover their place in the world (even if that place happens to be atop a throne of BONES).
  4. The 'H' Word: Utter the forbidden 'H' word, if you dare. Just a whisper will unleash banshee shrieks that pierce your very soul. Is this an exorcism, or is it time for homework? To subdue this ghastly rampage, perform the rituals of "Ample Playtime" and "Proper Sleep". But really, there are natural ways to help your kids focus on schoolwork!
  5. Cat and Mouse: No matter where you hide, your children will find you. They can smell your fear. No amount of coffee can mask your scent. Clothing racks seem to be their preferred dwelling. Eek, they've got my ankles! Oh no, now they're attacking an innocent stranger!
  6. Talk in Tongues: Kids babble like scary wind-up dolls. Their wild exploration into the shape and sound of their own voice raises a spine-tingling question. Are they just being cute, or are they communicating with an extraterrestrial race bent on domination? Are they relaying our secrets? Did they tell the aliens that we hide in the bathroom!? The truth (and our sanity) is out there.
  7. Strange Noises: Was that the fuming rumble of an ancient deep sea behemoth stirred awake by global warming, or your child screaming for you to put on Frozen "RIGHT NOW"? Add "having to determine whether my kid is possessed by a demon or communicating via plate tectonics" to the list of things nobody told you about parenting.
  8. Stunt Double: Turn your back for just a moment and horror of horrors, your kid scampers up a tree with unearthly vigor and leaps off like screeching bat! Talk about swallowing your pounding heart. Or how about when they hurl themselves down an enclosed slide backwards, flailing their limbs, bumping and banging? Your blood turns to queasy ice. But lo and behold, they emerge with sparkling laughter! How do they do it? No matter how many booboos, their enthusiasm never dampens! Do they feed off of your terror? Quite possibly. On a more positive note, a bit of healthy risk during playtime can be beneficial!
  9. Who Am I? Parenting uncovers your dark, down-in-the-trenches side. You do things you never imagined you were capable of. You touch freakish sludge without even a grimace. You read the same bedtime book over and over until insanity convinces you that you enjoy it. You stare at walls (covered in cryptic crayon inscriptions). You traverse no-man's-land, AKA the living room armed with Lego land mines. You have nightmares of chasing Dora through the jungle after she stole your coffee pot. But you know what? You love it! You wouldn't exchange parenthood for anything.

As a parent, what "horror stories" do you have to share? I'd absolutely love to hear them in the comments! Even though this blog post is all in good fun, there's a ring of truth. Just like movies of any kind, our children thrill, entertain, frustrate, terrify, excite, and delight us! So we'll take the mini heart attacks and the worrying; parenthood makes us paranormally happy!

For the record: Nothing is more terrifying to me than an abandoned playground. You can imagine why. Play matters!

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Inside Voice: 7 Ways to Yell Less and Communicate More

Photo by Donnie Ray Jones (Flickr)

Sometimes the coveted "inside voice" seems like an elusive fairy that wisps away whenever kids are involved. Parenthood can create a concoction of wild emotions that induce shouting: sleep deprivation, financial worries, safety concerns, sudden schoolwork "surprises", lack of listening, and so much more. But we all know that yelling does so much more harm than good. It exhibits poor behavior that kids will imitate, and it's usually met with nothing more than backlash!

So how can we communicate more effectively? Parental life is a whirlwind, so we need to learn how to roll with the punches and diffuse anger before it explodes. Healthy communication is an essential life skill that should be fostered early on, so why not make a conscious effort as a family? Here are my 7 ideas for yelling less and communicating more.

  1. Stress Management for Everyone's Sake: Are you being kind to yourself? Burnout is a surefire way to bust open the dams of yelling. You don't need to do everything, all at once, all the time. I know it's natural instinct to suppress our needs in favor of our children, but we're in no condition to help them if WE feel helpless! There's so much joy and serenity to be discovered if we honor ourselves as a high priority. Plus, self-care is something we want to nurture in our children.
  2. What's the Problem? Sometimes we get so tangled up in frustration that we forget the root of the problem. Take a breath and examine the nature of the issue. Is your child refusing to do their homework? Is there an underlying issue that you haven't discovered? Since yelling accomplishes nothing, try a different approach. Ask them why they won't do it. Get down to eye level and truly engage with them.
  3. Read My Lips: Yelling doesn't even work. It only ramps up stress for all involved, and the collateral damage is striking. So why not flip the coin? Try lowering your voice close to a whisper. It's a common technique in conflict resolution. At the very least, it will intrigue your kids into listening! It may help to establish a family signal for when a heated conversation must drop to soft voices. Sure, it may seem silly, but laughter is wonderful medicine for stress and tension!
  4. Strategy is Key: Do you find yourself scrambling to get your kids ready to board the bus? That dreaded morning hurricane. Emotions run rampant when we're faced with deadlines. Planning ahead can do wonders for easing stress. Prepare lunches the night before, choose outfits, and rise just 5-10 minutes earlier. Is grocery shopping with the kids in tow your Achilles' heel? Find time to go without them, like after bedtime or while they're at school.
  5. Breathe! Ah, breathing. So simple, so sweet, but so neglected. Our fight-or-flight response (and subsequent yelling) during stressful situations can be diffused with some deep breathing. Encourage your kids to do the same! It can be a fun, healthy bonding activity to all tune into breathing exercises. Along those lines, exercise is a fantastic way to banish stress too. Even just jogging in place when tempers flare can work miracles! Find proactive ways to release all of that fiery energy.
  6. Grab Your Toys: Play it away! Sometimes all it takes to feel like ourselves again is some playtime. Do you love reading? How about video games? Perhaps a stroll through nature is your idea of bliss. This compliments #1 quite nicely; do things that make you feel good! Both you and your children deserve leisure time to play, explore, and grow, so don't overload schedules!
  7. Laugh It Off: As parents, every word we say and every action we take shapes our young children's perception of the world. So, if you strive to handle life with grace and levity, they will hopefully adopt this approach. If your child screams out impossible demands, ask them to deliver you a unicorn in return (or another lighthearted item of fancy). It won't always work, but a touch of humor can really put our frustrations into perspective.

Yelling won't really get anyone anywhere. Not only that, but the less yelling you do, the happier you'll be. As a parent, which tactics have you tried to ease your anger and help your kids cope with theirs? I'd love to hear your feedback!

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Easy Does It: 11 Stress Busters for Kids

Photo by Katy Warner (Flickr)

As adults, it's all too easy to get swept up in the tides of our own stress. Oh, how we long to be carefree kids again! Is that really a wise wish? While kids don't have bills hanging over their cute little heads, they do deal with other stressors. The school year has just kicked off, so that means homework, extracurricular activities, friendships, crushes, and anxiety. What can we do to help our kids build strong, healthy coping mechanisms?

One of the most essential elements in learning and easing stress is to partake in ample, unscheduled playtime. It builds the self-esteem and independence needed to sail through stressful times. Not only that, it's just good for the soul to have fun!

Here are 11 more stress busters you can consider integrating into your children's lives:

  1. Expression Through Art: A blank canvas can diffuse just about anything: pent-up anger, complicated sadness, unsung creative urges, and stressful triggers! Art helps kids discover themselves, find their voices, and process feelings. Encourage them to play with different mediums. Better yet, join in!
  2. Partake in Peaceful Activities: We all know what happens when we go too long without a chance to relax and unwind. Children are very in tune with our emotions, so make sure you devote time to self-care! Breathe! Phew! One of our favorite activities is to pack a healthy picnic and sprawl out with my kiddos at the local park. Not only is a picnic a great bonding experience, it's just a wonderful time to read, savor the fresh air, and rest easy.
  3. Go to the Playground: You know I am a playground enthusiast! Your kids can let their imaginations run wild in these interactive landscapes. Play is just like meditation for kids, and meditation is a top-notch stress soother! You can even squeeze a workout in as your kids enjoy it!
  4. Play Games Indoors: Winter is coming, but that doesn't mean playtime should hibernate! Detach everyone from their devices and dive into an indoor game. The possibilities are endless: Hot lava living room? Go Fish? Apples to Apples? Wii Fit? Scrabble? So many ways to lighten up!
  5. Read More Books: Reading is a classic stress-buster, isn't it? So many sweet memories of escaping into a good book. Take a trip to the library with the kids! Not only will it ease and elevate their spirits, it a fantastic learning experience.
  6. Extracurricular Activities: To help beat stress, encourage your children to explore extracurricular activities that they might enjoy. This breaks up the routine of school and opens the door to new friendships. My girls always feel cheery and supercharged after a bout of karate! Just don't overload your kid's schedule too much; this can backfire and overwhelm them.
  7. Lessons Learned: Sometimes easing stress is all about the mindset we have. Are we demanding too much from ourselves? Teach your children early and often that effort is golden and perfection isn't real! This will help them gain a healthy perspective on progress and self-growth.
  8. Breathe, Breathe, Breathe: So simple, but so perfect. Show your children stress-relieving breath techniques. When emotions bubble out of control, gently urge them to be mindful of their breath. Inhale calm, exhale stress. They will emulate you, so try to do this yourself!
  9. Reward Their Hard Work: Life can be overwhelming, even at a young age, and especially with the stress of studying and school. When your darlings are giving it their all, treat them ever now and then. Be mindful that it doesn't turn into a bribe, though!
  10. Have a Solid Sleep Schedule: Sleep is the magic ingredient for banishing stress. Without it, we're at a big disadvantage. Help get your kids on a regular, healthy sleep schedule (there are plenty of great ways to do that).
  11. Don't Overwhelm Them: We want the best for our kids. Our instincts to build fulfilling lives for them can backfire if we're too insistent. Suggest activities for them to do, but don't force things on them. Sports may just not be their thing. Perhaps art just isn't appealing to them! Help guide them in the right direction, but let them discover on their own what it is they're passionate about!

In what ways do you help your children to manage their stress? How do you handle stress yourself? The more we share our methods, the more we can help others!

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

9 Natural Ways to Help Your Kid Focus

Photo by Dimitris Kalogeropoylos (Flickr)

As adults, we know that staying focused is a struggle, especially with digital delights enticing us every which way. We often become so wrapped up in our own stress that we forget our kids are bombarded with distractions too! While they don't have bills to pay, they do have schoolwork to complete and friendships to build. Most of all, their biggest job is to play! Play is how they learn, socialize, explore, and balance consequences. So how can we help our kids focus in school and play?

There are many natural, nurturing ways to promote focus in your kids. Getting on a good, regular sleep schedule is essential. This sets the foundation for other focus-friendly steps we can take! We want our kids to be successful, healthy, and happy; concentration is a primary ingredient!

Here are nine natural ways to help your kids focus:

  1. Have Enough Playtime: Your children need playtime. They need the freedom to release bundled up energy and explore their surroundings. They need to move! In fact, if you believe in ADHD, it's scientifically proven that exercise eases symptoms and fortifies focus! So, the ideal time for children to engage in academic learning is after they play their way to a clear head.
  2. Keep a Healthy Sleep Schedule: Having a healthy, consistent sleep schedule is crucial for optimal focus, both for adults and kids. When you didn't get enough sleep the night before, it's tough getting through your workday, right? It's no different here! Have the whole family power down at least half an hour before sleepy time. Rest and reflect!
  3. Pay Attention to Nutrition: We are what we eat. That's why it's so important for your kids to eat clean, wholesome foods. The right nutrition fuels their mind just as much as their body. Slash refined sugars (and artificial sweeteners), food coloring, and preservatives from their diet. Challenge them to consume a complete rainbow of fruits and veggies daily. Boost omega-3 intake by introducing nuts, salmon, and olive oil to the dinner table. Yum!
  4. Get Rid of the Clutter: Clutter pokes our brains and hijacks our train of thought, sometimes without us even realizing it! It may be hard for a child to focus if the floors of their rooms are more toys than carpet. Encourage the comforting routine of returning objects to their rightful place once playtime is over. This removes distractions and refreshes the mind so it can pursue the next task. As a family, figure out ways to cut clutter and promote a free-flowing environment.
  5. Put Rules in Place: When your children are doing their homework, set some basic ground rules that everyone follows. Before getting to work, encourage your kids to unwind with a healthy snack and playtime. Try to establish a solid routine; homework is done in the same (clutter-free) room at the same time every night. Take this opportunity to also settle down with a learning activity, such as reading or crossword puzzles. You'll set a erudite mood and guide by example!
  6. Keep the Electronics Away: We all struggle to win the mental battle against the glowing sway of electronics. But let's face it; unless they're out of reach, we're bound to get sucked in. So I urge you to spark a family movement towards healthy tech usage. When an activity or interaction deserves full attention, set aside the devices. This includes homework, dinner, and family movies. I know this is far easier said than done, but just strive to detach a bit each day.
  7. Start Reading More: One great way to help the kids develop a robust attention span is to promote reading. A good book can enchant the mind and sweep it away for hours. Reading introduces your kids to new ideas, swashbuckling characters, and endless possibilities. They will be able to make connections and explore different perspectives, which is essential for learning and creative endeavors!
  8. Set a Good Example: It's far from easy in this fast-paced, hyper-connected world, but we need to try to just BE with our kids. Offer them constructive feedback on their work, disengage from devices while conversing, and focus on building your own ability to stay on track. Kids learn best through example.
  9. Offer Praise: If you're proud of your kiddos for a job well done, let them know! Acknowledge all of the effort and time they've given. Tailor the compliments to their personality. For example, if your daughter poured her heart into a new painting, try, "Your creativity and hard work really shines in this artwork!" This will help them associate success and confidence with determination.

In what ways do you help your kids stay focused? How do you stay focused as a parent and a professional? I would love to hear your ideas!

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Play Your Way to a Happy Inner Child

Photo by: Listener42 (Flickr)

"Those who play rarely become brittle in the face of stress or lose the healing capacity for humor." ~ Stuart Brown, MD

"A person's maturity consists in having found again the seriousness one had as a child, at play." ~ Frederic Nietsche

"My childhood may be over, but that doesn't mean playtime is." ~ Ron Olson

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." ~ George Bernard Shaw

What message do all of those quotes convey? That even as an adult, play is extraordinary and necessary! Being an adult is hard, no doubt about it, but it doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your inner child. Play eases daily stress that bubbles up from your job, family life, finances, health, and countless other issues. It warms up our creative brains and jogs our imagination. Plus, it just feels good and natural. Sure, exercise is wonderful for adults in every single way, but your inner child deserves some nurturing too!

As a parent, I get to bask in the easy exuberance of my kids; each day is fresh and alive. Wouldn't it be lovely to have that sparkle-eyed outlook again? We don't have the freedom to abandon all responsibilities, but we can invite more carefree fun into our lives. So let's take some baby steps towards less "to-do" and more "to-enjoy"!

Here are a few ways that you can play your way to a happy inner child.

  1. Rewatch the classics - What are some of your favorite childhood movies? It's heartwarming to think about, isn't it? Why not pop one in and revel in the feel-good nostalgia, snack on popcorn, and sip some hot cocoa? I bet you'll still burst in same the giddy, uninhibited laughter that you did as a kiddo. Plus, you'll get all the hidden jokes and meanings!
  2. Skip to my lou, my darlin'! - Or rather, skip to the loo! If you're office-bound for the day, why not add a bit of whimsy to your bathroom trip? I love to skip down the hallway. Wake your body up from all of that sitting!
  3. Go for a bike ride - Venture outside the "box" of your car! Driving is a big adult responsibility, so it can feel so liberating to cruise on a bike. The wind plays in your hair and the sun seems more friendly! Your inner child and your heart will thank you.
  4. Tell someone they rock - As kids, we loved to tell people we loved them. Our admiration burst out of us like an overstuffed water balloon! As adults, we enter a world of competition and control. We don't have to give up our self-expression, though! Find someone you admire and tell them all about it. It will make their day, and I bet it will make yours too!
  5. Let's all sing-along - When you're out on the road alone, do you ever just want to belt out your favorite tunes? Do it! So often, our words get stuck between two extremes: parenting mode and strictly business. Singing can warm your heartstrings and liberate your voice! At the very least, it will be a healthy reminder that other songs exist besides "Let It Go".
  6. Play classic games - It's a digital world, my friend. The kids are just hooked on those electronic devices, aren't they? Let's give the screens a break and bring the play to the table or backyard! There are a delightful array of classic games to revive and enjoy. Some family favorites are Monopoly, Scrabble, and Apples to Apples. Even just a simple game of tag in the sun can help you shed that begrudging adult persona. Best of all, you'll have fun with your loved ones; the family that plays together, stays together!
  7. Head to the playground - Ah, the playground! By tagging along with your kiddos on a playground adventure, your inner child will want to come out to play. My girls and I love to swing as high as we can! Not only that, it's a quirky place to squeeze in some effective exercise while your kids run free.
  8. Try something new - Kids will leap into an activity without a single drop of self-doubt bruising their enthusiasm. Try that! Choose something new. Anything! Don't imagine how it will play out and don't imagine how you'll mess it up. Just give it a go! You may amaze yourself.

Being an adult is tough, but nourishing our inner child can ease tension and help us feel youthful. It can also help us relate to our children and spark spontaneity in our relationships. How do you invite your inner child out to play?

Find more about the author: Kim Hart