Being a dad of two little girls, I know that my negative emotions and stresses leak out and are absorbed by my two carefree little ones–no matter how hard I try to hide them. The last thing I want to do is pass on those daily annoyances to them and bring them down too. So from one dad to another, I offer this fun and simple solution: Grab your kids and … Dance! Dance! Dance!
That’s right, I said it. I’ll throw my masculinity out there and admit it: dancing around with my girls is silly, immature, goofy and quite possibly the most enjoyable highlight of each stress-filled day.
Nearly every night, following dinner, we prepare for “Dance Party” at our house. The girls and I trek down the stairs to the TV room, crank on some beat-filled tunes, and go nuts. Because, guess what? You might be the silliest, most uncoordinated guy out there, but your kids will love it. They don’t judge you on your rhythm. They don’t judge you on your style. The nerdier you are, the better!
And get this—they will copy you! Your moves just became cooler than Elmo on Ice! They will probably think you are the funniest and most talented dad in history, even though you have probably been laughed off of wedding reception floors for years now. And here’s a newsflash: The Charlie Brown? The Running Man? The Cabbage Patch? All HUGE hits with the kids. (Find these and other fun dances online if you need to.) They laugh, they imitate … my girls even have “dance faces,” which consist of closing their eyes and bobbing their heads nicely to the beat.
Always remember, you can make time. You aren’t that busy. If you are, realign some priorities. Put off watching Wheel of Fortune. Put off conquering the final level on that new video game. Save that report for work until later or first thing in the morning. Everyone has to have fun sometime, and the more days you let things build up on you, the more stressful you will get—and like it or not, you pass that on to your kids.
Instead, show them they are your priority—and join in the fun.
The point is this: silliness is a remedy for stress. And why not be silly with the silliest of all—your children? Start a conga line and march around the couch. Grab their hands and pirouette them onto their Pampers—all the more laughs when you fall down. Plus, dancing is great exercise. I am not talking about a Justin Timberlake, 2-hour HBO special-type marathon; just 15-30 minutes of dancing to get your heart pumping.
Soon enough, through all the laughs, tumbles, and stumbles, your boss yelling at you or your credit card bill won’t seem to phase you. The most important things don’t turn out to be those clients you couldn’t make a sale to, or that fender bender you got into. It is those smiling little dance-fever machines staring up at you, hearts pounding and brows perspiring.
So tonight, go home and bust out the moves that you’ve had in the closet for so long. And one more tip: twirling a pint-size princess may sound like fun, and it is. Just make sure she hasn’t had a full bowl of ice cream … or else you might spend the night cleaning off your dancing shoes!
Ryan Zimmerman is married and the father of 2 girls, ages 4 and 3. He lives in Kansas City, where he is a Director of Marketing. Read more from him at iwasabadkid.com – a place for tips and tales for fathers to read and enjoy.