Time To Be Silly
Recently I was walking around Six Flags with my husband, older sister, and eight children ranging from age 3 to thirteen. We could hear music playing and I started to dance. I then shouted out "bonus for anyone else who dances." My kids immediately started dancing. (And by dancing I meaning wiggling our shoulders, kicking our legs, moving our hips-no "real" dance moves). One of my nephews asked what the bonus was while some of his siblings started dancing too. My sister and husband joined in. While still dancing, I explained there is no real bonus but fun. He laughed and did not join in. I guarantee we looked silly but we were having fun. That was the point. Sometimes, we need to be silly and have fun.
I have a lot of clients that struggle with anxiety. One of my intake questions is what do they do for fun. I am shocked by how many people, especially teenagers, struggle to answer this or initially state they do not have a lot of time for fun. No wonder they are anxious! We are doing ourselves and our kids a disservice by not allowing a time for fun. I don't care if we have to schedule it in, but we need to make time for it. Even if that means blocking out an hour for unstructured, unplugged (meaning no electronics) activities. I'm all for sports, music, clubs, etc but are they fun? I know many kids who participate in activities they have not thought was fun for years. I would much rather see a kid playing in a very low key, non competitive league where they have fun then in a select sport. Now if your kid loves the select sport and has fun most of the time, great. But between seasons, check in and make sure they the last season was enjoyable.
Fun should happen at school sometimes too. If your kid thinks school is horrible all the time, connect with the supports there to see if this can be improved. Not all students will love school, but everyone should find something they can enjoy there. Even if it is a club, lunchtime, or a special (Art, PE, FACS, etc).
As adults, we need to have fun too. Are we taking time to do things we enjoy? Do we have hobbies separate from our families and work? Balance is key.
And don't be afraid to just stop and dance sometimes:)
Stefanie F. Pisarkiewicz, LPC
Experience and information from a counselor and mother- sharing her two cents on children and teens.