Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Syder Hous Roolz

  1. Kids love to play.
  2. Kids have great imaginations.
  3. Older kids will pretend that they might not like to imagine, but if you spy on them in their secret tree house, you'll see that their adventures on the seven seas fly just as high as when they were 4.
  4. If you get goofy with your kids, they will love it.
  5. If you're not sure how to do it...just do it.  If you think that's not good advice, remember all the times you wrung your hands over your child's refusal to ride her bike, hit a baseball, or climb the rockwall, despite your advice that "you'll never get better at it if you don't try.
  6. If you're still stumped, read "If You Give a Pig a Pancake," "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," or, really, any kid's book.   
  7. More random (as long as it's not vulgar) = funnier.  Say anything.
  8. If your kids look at you funny, try again.  You either need more practice or they're stunned that you sound like them.  Don't be discouraged.
  9. From time to time, insert the wrong words into one of the favorite stories.  Try substituting your child's name for a well-known character.  Kids love hearing their own name, and since they know the whole book by heart anyway, your efforts at malfeasance will be quickly noticed.  Just don't over-do it, and if they say stop, stop.
  10. In fact, anytime your child says stop during play, you should stop.  It helps them to understand that there are limits and that you respect your kids.  It also teaches them that there are rules even you must follow.
  11. If something happens that hurts their feelings or their toes, say you're sorry.  We're not perfect, and they should know it.
  12. Let them make a mess (within reason...and apologies to the OCD crowd out there).  Kids love to make a mess; it's part of their make-up.  They crave sensory stimulation, especially young kids, for whom learning through their senses is exactly the way they learn.  There's also nothing better than making an obscene mess with the adult who ordinarily tells them to clean up.  Call it "Introduction to Irony."
  13. Go outside.  Just do it.
  14. If the weather stinks, still go outside, and be prepared for them to get wet and dirty.  Puddle-jumping and burying oneself in snow drifts are national pastimes in Kid-inavia.
  15. Add just enough into your child's games to help the story along, but allow them to get a little nuts.  Never take it out of your child's hands.  Try not to squash ideas of plastic pigs flying, purple buses serving lunch to Skeletor, Transformers in dresses drinking tea with Japanese erasers, or Groovy Girls battling for interstellar dominance against game-pieces from Sorry.  It's their world, you're just taking a stroll through it with them.
  16. Warnings about the need to stop should precede the need to stop by at least 5 minutes, unless you enjoy ear-busting screams and testing out your disciplining skills.
  17. If you don't allow them to wind down, see rule 12.  Wind-down activities could include looking at clouds, reading a book, playing tiptoe hide and seek, swinging on swings, etc.
  18. 3 Golden rules - no breaking your bones, no breaking your friend's bones, no breaking skulls (thanks to Julie for these).  Yes, they're repetitive rules, but emphasizing the importance of the head seems critical.  These rules also suggest that tackling people might be ok as long as the ER doc is not waiting at the end.
 Feel free to make your own rules - these are some rules that have worked for our family and for families I see.  Good luck, and have fun!


  1. I love this post. particularly because I'm quite often the 'crazy mommy' in the middle of a game of "duck duck goose" or some holiday themed equivalent.
    Some suggested additions to your rules:
    #4 Dont be embarassed in front of other parents. Most of them wish they were better at relating to their kids.
    #9 Also give them a word that means go. Sometimes they're afraid to ask you to stop if they think the game will end. Let them know that there is a trigger to restart and they have the power to use it.
    #10 Sometimes STOP pops out of their mouths when they dont mean it. You can also choose a world like "Uncle" My children enjoy the phrase "Uncle Adam smells like feet." as the stop trigger.
    14) Dress appropriately and let them know that jumping in puddles is okay, jumping in puddles on the way to aunt sadies formal birthday party is not. This also helps them understand "appropriate insanity"

  2. I'll add another rule. If you're in public engaging in the silliness and a kid is standing nearby longingly watching, invite them into the game. Most kids are too shy to ask to join, but hardly any are too shy to refuse an opportunity to join in the craziness. It's also a good life lesson that things are more fun if you include more people.

    Zach loved the "EJ's Magic Bus" stories that we used to create at dinner-time. We haven't done it with Ben so much, I need to ressurect it.

  3. I love the other rules. I hope more people post!

  4. I don't have any other rules! Studying furiously, though! Mason is getting more and more fun every day.
    I'm curious what the topics of EJ's Magic Bus stories entailed? I didn't think that was age appropriate...


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