When’s the last time you had a good hearty belly laugh? Been a while? Proverbs reminds us that “laughter is good medicine,” but sometimes we need to be intentional about creating opportunities for laughter within the busyness of life. One single mom I know recommends scheduling regular “Fun Nights” for the family, so everyone has something to look forward to at least once a month. Give yourself a budget, and let the kids join into planning the fun events. A good dose of happiness can level some of the difficult bumps of life and make our heavy load seem a little lighter.
Victor Hugo wrote, “Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.” I like to say that laughter is the glue that brings family members closer and creates a unique bond by smoothing over some of the prickly edges. In his book The Laughter Prescription, Dr. Laurence Peter says humor serves an important role in easing tensions, in both the individual and in relationships with others. He writes, “Laughter provides the outlet for otherwise unacceptable feelings, behaviors and impulses by facilitating talking about or acting out conflicts and emotions in a safe, non-threatening way.”
Yes, laughter has a way of keeping family challenges and unforeseen circumstances in perspective, while preventing stress levels from getting out of control. Here’s a few ideas for family fun night on a budget:
- Movie Night – Set up a concession stand with snacks, popcorn and drinks. Download a movie and pretend you are at the theater together.
- Family Hike – Find a nearby park or walking trails to enjoy a family adventure together. Collect leaves, skip rocks, make bark rubbings and enjoy God’s great creation.
- Play a game – Whether you play a video game or a board game, schedule a fun time with favorite snacks to enjoy a little happy competition.
- Art night – Bring out a few art supplies and allow everyone to express their inner Picasso. Markers, crayons, water colors or scrap materials can all make for a creative evening. Art is great therapy and allows our kids to surface some of their emotions, hurts and fears. Be sure to talk about your creations and discuss with your kids what they are trying to say through their art.
- Re-run Mania – We all have favorite comedy shows that we rarely go back and watch. Download a few seasons of one of your family favorites and watch it under the covers in your bed.
- Cooking Night – Choose one night a month when you will cook together. Designate one child to be in charge of choosing the recipe earlier in the week (so you can get the ingredients) and then give everyone a role to play as you make the creation together.
In addition to special nights, I encourage you to keep a joke or riddle book by the dinner table and allow some of the kids to read a joke to the rest of the family now and then. Discussion starters around the dinner table is another delightful way to engage and listen to one another. Invite laughter to be a welcome and regular guest with your family and enjoy the change it brings to the atmosphere of your home.
Known as “the Positive Lady,” Karol Ladd inspires men and women around the world with a message of lasting hope and Biblical truth. Karol is open, honest and real in both her speaking and her writing. Formerly a teacher, Karol is the best-selling author of over 35 books including The Power of a Positive Mom, Positive Leadership Principles for Women and her newest book, Becoming a Woman of the Word. As a gifted communicator and dynamic leader, Karol is a popular speaker to women’s organizations, church groups and corporate events and is a frequent guest on radio and television programs and teaches a monthly Bible study called Positive Woman Connection. Recently, she started the Engage Positive Parenting Initiative which reaches men and women in communities affected by poverty (www.EngageParenting.com). Her most valued role is that of wife to Curt and mother to two grown daughters, Grace and Joy. Find out more at www.PositiveLifePrinciples.com.
The Life of a Single Mom is a national organization headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana that focuses on seeing no single mom walk alone. The organization serves more than 50,000 single mothers annually from around the United States and more than 2,000 in Greater Baton Rouge through their support group network, outreach event, educational classes, online communities, and more. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com