Are you taking parenting too seriously?

Are you taking parenting too seriously?

Schedules. School. Dinner. Laundry. Playtime. Cleaning. Grocery shopping. Bedtime.

So many things go into the daily routine of a parent. It’s easy to get bogged down by responsibilities and deadlines. But amid the chaos, there is something every parent should be finding time for every day – being silly.

That’s because children may be reaping the biggest benefits from interacting with parents who act silly. Laughing signals the body to release dopamine, often referred to as the “feel-good hormone.” The shared experience of laughing together helps to strengthen the parent-child relationship, and regularly laughing helps to combat feelings of stress, anxiety and even depression. Plus, being silly is beneficial for parents, too!

Some parents may worry too much “goofing around” might take away from learning opportunities. However, research shows humor can actually enhance concentration and information retention, improving your child’s chances of learning.

“I’m a big proponent of balance,” says Dr. Noah King, a pediatrician with Advocate Children’s Hospital. “Routine and consistency are essential when you’re sleep training an infant, working on toddler tantrums or struggling with your school-aged kids or teens working on their emotional maturity and independence. But it’s extremely important to be well balanced and let your kids see a fun, lighthearted, goofy side of you. You’re going to have the best relationships with your kids if you have that balance.”

Dr. King recommends trying new things together, park dates, lunches, ball games, swimming and festivals as ways to have fun with your kids.

“If you have more than one child, they really love individual, one-on-one dates and activities,” says Dr. King. “Making each child feel important and seen is key.”

If you struggle with silliness, here are a few simple tips to incorporate more laughter into your daily routine with your child:

  • Make up songs or rhymes about everyday activities, like brushing teeth, putting on shoes or getting into the car seat.
  • Dance with your child to music they enjoy. Teach them a dance or ask them to show you some moves.
  • Bath time is a great opportunity to play around. Put bubbles on your head or make a mustache or beard.
  • Build a fort together – inside or outside. Be sure to get in the fort with your child.
  • While getting them dressed or into pajamas, put their pants on their head or their shirt on their legs. See how they respond.

Are you trying to find a pediatrician? Find one in Illinois or Wisconsin. 

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About the Author

Holly Brenza
Holly Brenza

Holly Brenza, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator on the content team at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading, watching the White Sox and Blackhawks, playing with her dog, Bear and running her cats' Instagram account, @strangefurthings.