Each day as we say goodbye to our children many of us impart our wish for them to have fun.
Have fun each and every day. How is that even remotely possible?
Creating the expectation that each day, each activity will be fun-filled sets both the child and the parent up for failure.
Often when the child returns home every day away from the parent is examined against the harsh measure of the fun scale.
Such pressure for the child and for the parent, we cannot help but fail.
What can we do instead?
Surely we can find other more meaningful ways to measure the 'worthwhileness' of our days?
Even using instead the phrase 'have a good day' is very different to 'have fun'. A good day could be (and very often is) one where you achieved something worthwhile, you mastered a new skill, you overcame a difficulty - it may not have been fun but it was satisfying and certainly worthwhile.
When our children return after a day away from us, we could just say, 'Hi, it's great to see you' and leave it to them to report their day as they wish (often you will find out much more than you will by grilling) or even 'how was your day?' is far more open-ended than 'how was your day, did you have fun?
If you ask, 'how was your day?' please be prepared to accept, 'OK', 'all right', or 'good'. Very often if you accept the child's answer and allow space children will begin to spontaneously talk about their experiences in their own way, in their own time. If they don't immediately offer up more information it's a great idea if you offer some of your own, talking about your day. This then becomes a conversation rather than an interrogation.
If children are taught to expect every day and every experience to be fun they are going to encounter a great deal of disappointment and distress.
Is that really how you want to measure the worth of an activity? Will you be happy when you child rejects anything that's not fun to learn?
We all want our children to be resilient and developing resilience means developing realistic expectations and an understanding of the complexities of life, knowing what you have the capacity to change and what you don't.
Resilience is about developing the skills within yourself to deal some struggles, to persevere when necessary and to cope with the disappointments of life as well as the great many joys.