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by Billy Mitchell

Let’s face it: Children are fun and a responsibility. As a parent, you need to strike a balance between responsibility and fun. You know the responsibility part, but sometimes you need to be reminded of where the fun is. Here are some handy hints to get you started on having more fun with your kids.

Your schedule has just gone out the window. Taking care of children is like suddenly being on a half time zone; add at least half hour to every estimate. Plan ahead, but be prepared to have those plans altered by little mishaps or sidetracks. Enjoy the ride, breathe deeply and savour every moment. You'll find an extra change of clothes and a first-aid kit help keep the stress level down, too.

It's nice to know everything about everything, but sometimes let your children teach you about things that you thought you already knew. When asked what a word means, go pick up a dictionary and look it up together. Make sure that you ask what they think it means first. You will have some good laughs and then go look it up together. I recommend a real, book dictionary, not an electronic or web dictionary. Leafing through the pages with your child provides a tactile, tangible experience with language and meaning. You'll probably find a few other words on the same page that are fun words as well.

Think back to when you were a child. What was fun then? Mud-pies. Blanket forts. Sandcastles. Cardboard boxes. Paper airplanes. All these things are simple fun that won't cause you to open your wallet every ten minutes. And it forces you to rediscover your silly side.

Get down.
Lower yourself, physically, to your child's level and see the world from his/her perspective. Crawling around on the floor or at the playground may not be so elegant and may raise eyebrows on other parents, but you'll get a better feel for the world your child perceives. While you're down there, you'll have a chance to check for potential hazards (and dust bunnies). And, what the heck, do some sit-ups or stretch and set a good example.

Get down and boogie.

Everyone likes music and children are no exception. Toss on some tunes and let the fun begin! Around our house bluegrass, swing and zydeco get the kids dancing while movie themes like Henry Mancini's Mission Impossible spawn spontaneous "mystery hunt" games. The more variety, the better. Let your children find their favourite music by exposing them to lots of different styles; the more variety, the better. Keep a little Mozart and Debussy on hand for a wind-down afterward.


So, those are some guidelines for adding more fun and value to your time with your children, now here are some special things to do in October:

  • Visit a pumpkin patch.
  • Pick some apples.
  • Make a donation package with the kids to a Food Bank or local charity for Thanksgiving( Don't forget to add a couple of things to make them laugh)
  • Take a walk in the woods. Look for the nicest fallen leaves. Pile them up as high as you can and dive in
  • Try to explain why we set the clocks back. Don't forget to change your smoke-detector batteries while you're at it.

Bill Mitchell is a father, actor, writer and comedian from BC. He'd like to do more fishing, canoeing, white-water rafting, hot-air ballooning and mountain biking, and probably will, once his youngest kids get a little bigger. You can find him on the web at





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