Kids can be a challenge. While there’s no doubt you love them dearly, the day to day can involve a lot of little stresses. Between keeping everyone fed, clean, and happy, it’s easy to get lost in the routine and to lose the fun out of the day. This is a shame because, really, these years, when you’re parenting your child should be one of the most rewarding times in your life.

Thankfully it’s pretty easy to put the fun back into the everyday parenting routine. The added benefit? Joy takes the stress out of the day, so everyone wins. Read on to find out how:

Start Slow
The hardest part of waking up is the abrupt cessation of Dreamtime. With this in mind, begin the day gently when you want to set a less stressful tone. Sing a soft song as you gently rub the child’s back. Talk softly. Maybe tickle the child lightly (not hard) to draw them back to wakefulness. Have a warm robe ready to start the day cozy and snug.

Make Breakfast Fun
Now that you’re up, keep the tone of the fun by introducing fun shapes in breakfast food or creating a picnic. How about a game while eating? For extra bonus points, invite the child to help with breakfast preparations.

Give Out Reminders
Write messages on steamed mirrors. Include notes in lunches, which include fun quotes, jokes, or games. Put a post-it on a bedroom door or stick on one of their homework assignments to find when they get to school. Let your family know you love them and enjoy being with them every chance you get.

Create New Traditions
New traditions don’t have to be complicated. Do things that make a unique statement about your family. Form a secret handshake. Decide on a regular family night involving games and food, and fun. Go shopping for others, making up gift bags for the homeless or for animal shelters. Create your own family equivalent of April Fool’s Day. Whatever it is, the point is to make this fun, meaningful, and something you practice regularly, as that’s what traditions are all about.

Smile More. Laugh.
Show your family you love spending time with them, by expressing it on your face. Remember, every one of you is capable of setting the tone for the day. Jokes, giggles, belly laughs should be part of your regular repertoire. You’ll be surprised at how contagious this is.

By following these tips, you’ll find the day flows much more smoothly. The kids are relaxed and having fun, and so are you. A win-win all around!