Thoughtful Parenting: Fun Times with St. Patrick’s Day |

Thoughtful Parenting: Fun Times with St. Patrick’s Day

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You’ve probably heard the statistic that a 4-year-old laughs 300 times per day while a 40-year-old only laughs four times per day. And, while this may be an urban legend, I can tell you from working around 4-year-olds all day, it’s not far from the truth. Parents are often so busy, they may forget just to have fun with their child.

Being silly with your child has many benefits. While laughing, it’s hard to feel hurt, doubt or fear. You are role modeling that life can be joyous, fun and happy. This gives your child a feeling of emotional stability.

Having fun is a great way to cope with stress, and a lifelong skill that will serve your child well. When you find humor in difficult times, it doesn’t seem that the obstacle is so insurmountable. Laughter releases endorphins which physically and emotionally lessens the impact of stress.

It’s an excellent time for bonding when you are sharing a moment of silliness. Think of it as positive behavior guidance. It’s so much more pleasant to laugh with your child than to reprimand him or her.

The following are a few fun St. Patrick’s Day activities.

Build a leprechaun trap. Legend has it that if you catch a leprechaun, he must take you to his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Keep the magical story alive in your child by building a leprechaun trap together. Build it with blocks or cardboard boxes, glue and tape. Bonus: your child learns a bit about engineering along the way. Options include furnishing it, paint, markers, wallpaper scraps, etc. Be creative.

Leave a trail of glitter, in gold or green, rocks spray painted gold, gold wrapped candy, or shamrocks to prove the trickster came by.

Play a trick on your child. Think Elf on the Shelf gone green.  

  • Color the toilets and say the leprechauns forgot to flush.
  • Color a breakfast of oatmeal or scrambled eggs.
  • Make green ginger ale for a pistachio ice cream float.
  • Try a green smoothie.

Lime Jello mix makes a great leprechaun dust. Sprinkle it over slightly damp apple slices. The fairy-like creatures strike again.

Sing together.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day (Tune: I’m a Little Teapot)
I’m a little leprechaun
Dressed in green,
The tiniest man
That you have ever seen.
If you ever catch me, so it’s told,
I’ll give you my pot of gold.

Tami Havener, MA, has been the executive director of the Family Development Center, including Discovery Learning Center, Newborn Network and Child Care Network for 34 years. 

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