Parenting with…..Fish?

Have you heard of The Fish! Philosophy? Many years ago I attended a customer service training at work based around The Fish! Philosophy. It was a great training and tons of fun. The philosophy was built around the practices of the folks at Pike Place Fish in Seattle. Yep, a fish market.

This training transformed the way I looked at work and customer service.

Watch this video to get a better idea of what I’m talking about:

The pillars of the philosophy are; be there, make their day, play, and choose your attitude. I got to thinking, can this idea be applied to parenting? ABSOLUTELY! 

Let’s explore the four pillars in relation to parenting:

Be there.

Be present with your children. Be emotionally, physically and mentally available. Easier said than done right? I know as a mom there are a million things screaming for your attention. My solution to this is scheduling specific times for things like chores or the computer and other specific times to be available to my kids.

I am definitely still working on this. I have learned that if I give my kids time and attention at the beginning of the day they are often happy to go and play with each other or entertain themselves later in the day giving me time to accomplish other tasks.

Make their day.

What can you do today to delight your kids? This isn’t something we often think about. At least I don’t. Most days I’m just trying to keep up. This doesn’t have to be something huge every day. It can be as simple as reading their favorite story or helping with their least favorite chore. Do something to delight each of your children three times a week and see what happens.


I am terrible about playing with my kids. Seriously. I have absolutely zero desire to build with legos or play with dolls. I have good news! That isn’t the only way to play with your kids. When I did this training they told us, think of something that brings you joy, that you love to do and figure out how to incorporate it in your job.

Wow, what a novel concept. This should be relatively easy to do with kids. If you like sports-play them with your kids. If you like crafts-do them with the kids. Granted when they are very young it is harder to do this but just remember they will one day be big enough to enjoy your favorite things WITH you. And they will likely love it just because you love it.

This doesn’t even have to be a specific activity like dolls or sports or crafts, just be playful in the things you do as you go about your day. Anything can be done in a playful way. If selling fish can be playful surely washing dishes can be too!

Choose your attitude.

I think this is the most important one. It is not always easy but will shape everything else. Attitude is a choice. Choosing to be cheerful and positive is rarely easy, but doing so will have a positive effect on everything else about your day. The way you experience and react to your situation is generally shaped by the attitude you choose to have. We all have bad days, don’t beat yourself up if your good attitude ends up going down the drain, just try again tomorrow.


There you go! Some ideas on how to use the Fish! Philosophy to bring joy and fun to your parenting. Think about how you can implement each of these in your family and share your ideas in the comments!

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