Silliness is a gift—both to us as parents and to our kids.
It’s Thursday of half-term week as a write this and I have a few days off to spend with my family. There’s no huge agenda: just a mix of day trips, short outings, and plenty of time together.
We’ve been staying with my wife, Rachel’s, parents all week, and while we’ve been here Eloise, my five year-old daughter, has discovered a new Cbeebies show she hasn’t seen before called ‘Topsy and Tim’. It’s based—loosely—on some of my favourite childhood books. Anyway, each episode starts with upbeat music while Topsy and Tim—two young twins—run and skip madly around the house causing havoc.
After watching countless episodes, Eloise suddenly decided she wanted to reenact the opening credits. With me. ‘I’ll be Topsy, Daddy,’ she told me, ‘and you can be Tim’. As soon as she’d given her instructions, I was faced with that moment of choice. Do I pretend to have something important to go and get on with, or do I embrace this moment and enter into the silliness?
It’s not always the case but I’m glad to say, on this occasion, I chose silly. The two of us spent fifteen minutes running and jumping and skipping around my in-laws lounge. (Please don’t tell them about the mess we made.) We laughed, we giggled and, more importantly, we bonded. I’m only glad none of my colleagues at work could see me!
Whenever these moments happen I’m so glad they do. I’ve missed more of them than I should, but there’s something wonderful that happens when I completely let my hair down with my kids. The bond I feel with my girls deepens in way that nothing else quite seems to accomplish. We feel close and connected in our silliness and our laughter. There’s a oneness we share in that moment that I rarely feel quite so strongly at any other time.
I’m not even sure I can fully explain it. But I’ve seen it often enough to know that it’s value is immeasurable. I’ve come to see that silliness is a gift—both to us as parents and to our kids. Something happens when we completely let go and embrace a moment of spontaneous playful fun. There’s nothing silly about it at all from our kids’ point of view, of course, but somehow they seem to get that, for us, it is a bigger deal. And that’s why they love it so much when we join in with them. They feel deeply loved and embraced.