As you become older you realize that memories and treasured keepsakes are what you come away with from your childhood. Since there are no perfect families, hard memories are unavoidable; with this in mind, try to make sure that the happy memories outweigh the difficult ones in your child’s life.
- Have siblings write letters to each other and keep them until they get older. Give them to each one on a special occasion such as birthday or graduation.
- Shop with each child each year and pick out a special Christmas ornament. Store them separately and then as they leave home and have their own Christmases you can give them this box of Christmas childhood memories that they can now hang on their own trees and even pass on to their own children someday.
- Write a letter to your child once a year and let them know how important they are to you and how much they are loved. These will become treasured keepsakes in their lives and may become a tradition that they pass on to their own children. It will also give them perspective of what was happening in their lives during that time in their lives. Kids sometimes have a distorted memory of events as children because they didn’t know how to process the circumstances that they were in. This will bring clarity and reference for them.
- Make traditional family recipes together. Cooking together is a great time for talking and sharing. Talk about how certain family recipes were handed down to you and the stories that are behind them. If you have the time, make a cookbook with recipes from extended families, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, Godparents, favorite neighbors and friends, etc. This is a great project to work on with kids.
- If you have multiple children, have a date night with each one individually. Kids can get lost in the shuffle and having these one on one times with you will be special memories of just the two of you.
- Don’t be afraid to be silly with your kids. Play with Barbie’s or Dinosaurs. Go into their world and let them guide you. Dance, sing, jump, scream, get dirty etc. It’s not the routine events and chores in their lives that they will remember but these fun silly times when mommy or daddy built a fort in the living room and slept there with them all night.
- Develop a family tree with your kids. Help them understand their roots and their culture. Make it a fun project creating a tree and putting a picture of all the relatives, grandparents, aunts & uncles, cousins, etc. on the branches. This gives kids a sense of pride, belonging and an understanding of where they came from.
Life flies by fast and before you know it your kids will be grown. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to make sure that your children have fond memories of growing up. Will your kids remember their Xbox or will they remember the two of you running through the sprinklers on a hot day?
Visit AboutTheChildren.org for more ideas.