10 ways to avoid being a groundhog parentAlamy

Having kids is all about routine, routine, routine – school run, housework, supermarket, another untouched dinner, bedtime – and it can reduce even the most enthusiastic parent to a dribbling wreck.

So how do you liven things up and get through those inevitable grumpy moments?

Here are 10 foolproof ways to kick the parenting daily grind in the cobblers and have a bit more fun - even in the most mundane situations...


1. Scare your children witless

"I know this sounds a bit weird, but when my daughter is taking too long to get dressed in the morning I run into her room, flash my bra, and jump up and down with my hands above my head until she hurries up," laughs mother of one, Shelley. "She enjoys it in that 'oh my god that's so gross it's great' kind of way."


2. Pretend to be a zombie slayer

"Recently I've started taking the kids to nursery on scooters, which inevitably means I have to pull them both up the hill, one for each arm," my friend Jen explains. "But as I'm doing it, I like to pretend that I have two zombies in tow and I'm on my way to save humans from the undead. It passes the time."


3. Plan, plan, plan

But what about when you've got a full time job and two under fives to deal with? Fun must be planned, says Sarah Wilde. "The way I get through the daily chaos of having two under 5s is to plan so far in advance that the mums at my four-year-old's school received the three months in advance birthday invitation with thinly veiled horror. I can't help it.

"The mere thought of spontaneity makes me dry heave. I plan for family days out that end in frenetic mayhem. But some chemical release in my brain makes me forget, and soon I'm planning the next trip."


4. Get out and get friendly

Novelist Fiona Gibson, author of Pedigree Mum, has two top tips for fed up parents. "1. Be outside. My kids are older now (12, 16 and 16) but during the early years we basically lived in the park over the road. The kids would wade in the river, climb trees, roll down hills, pelt stuff at each other - I'd cart vast piles of food over with us, like cold pizza slices, and blankets and bikes. As long as we got there at some point during day, it would be fine.

"And secondly, avoid being alone. I would also pounce on women I liked the look of, and force them to be friends with me."


5. Make the trip to nursery a big adventure

"My four-year-old son and I pretend we're having adventures, being chased by dragons for treasure, goblins in cars, whomping willows..." says Paul. "He also isn't allowed to cross a railway bridge without answering a question from a hungry troll."


6. Organise 'Bonkers o'clock'

"On stuck-in-days I put on the Megamix by 90s band 5ive and let them bounce on the bed," says Michelle. "The 5ive Megamix is a 10 minute mash up of their greatest hits, and is lyrically and musically toddlertastic. Seriously, it's ace. Songs involving counting up/down to 5, bees and birds, We Will Rock You....Turns a grump into a laugh.

"And if you have a balloon or two handy to bash around while bouncing, it gets even more joyful. It's 10 mins of insanity, then peace."


7. Introduce them to your old people's music

"I like to introduce my son to random tunes," says Alli. "His favourite is 'Go West' by the Pet Shop Boys. You've got to educate them while you can."


8. Plan a secret mission

"On the way to school, pretend you are subversives with a plot to destroy the school," says father of two, Russ. "The lollipop person is a potential informer."


9. Dance like a fool

"We do dance routines to music in the car on the way to nursery - today was 'Into The Valley' by the Skids, so drumming was required," says Claire. "Some days we do the toothbrush dance – it's the only way to get my son moving. Where do I get the energy? Well, it's all down to coffee - sometimes Irish coffee."


10. Just bloody well enjoy yourself, will ya?

"Any random time you get to yourself, make it yours - don't just do the house work," says childminder and mother of two Vicky. "Also, enjoy the children, because before long they won't even need you as part of the Groundhog Day routine!"