Remember when you used to have fun?

I know, it seems like it’s been a while. Maybe a long while.

Sometimes parenting can seem like a burden. Even reading about parenting can make you feel like you need to button down and master 5 more parenting skills—which, sometimes you need to do.

But in the process, you stop having fun.

Your marriage isn’t as fun as it used to be. Your parenting is so stressed that you don’t laugh much.

I spent the last few weeks having fun.

My wife and I spent a little over two weeks celebrating our anniversary in Australia. We paddled through six-foot waves on ocean kayaks to hang out with dolphins. We snorkeled for hours through water so pure and amazing, we felt like we were characters in Finding Nemo. And then I wrestled a baby crocodile. Okay—maybe I didn’t quite wrestle him. And maybe his snout was taped shut. And maybe I touched him. But still, it was fun.

Just recently, I had dinner with a friend and his family. His daughter is six and his son is four. The kids wanted to know if I’d play with them. My adult I’ll-hang-out-here-with-your-parents default response quickly gave into chasing a six-year-old through a shopping center after dinner as she laughed and laughed. Not to be left out, my friend’s four-year-old caught my attention and started playing keep-away with his Yankee’s hat.

It’s amazing how little it takes to laugh so hard your stomach hurts with kids.

Maybe what your family needs right now is just a little more fun.

Fun over time equals connection. Ever notice you connect at a whole new level with the people you laugh with?

Fun over time breaks down walls, authenticates forgiveness (you can’t have fun with people you haven’t forgiven), and even more than that, fun heals.

Maybe the best thing you can do with your kids today is play with them. Do something fun.

Instead of wondering when you’re going to be able to wash the chalk off your sidewalk, go out there and draw with them.
Instead of rolling your eyes when your kids want to build a fort, lie in it with them.
Instead of settling for the grunts your teenager is giving you these days, take them for ice cream and go sit on a park bench together.

If your kids don’t want to do anything, go do something fun yourself. Why? Because you’ll be a better parent.

You’ll be more relaxed.
You won’t lose your temper as easily.
You’ll actually be more fun to be around.

Fun over time is one more way to be a better parent, a better spouse, and a better friend.

So here’s today’s parenting advice: Go have some serious fun.