One thing you very quickly find out as a parent is that the days can be long but the years are short. One moment you have a tiny newborn in your arms and before you know it, you’re sending your baby to kindergarten. Making the most of every minute you spend with your child while trying to give them a childhood to remember is a difficult balance to achieve.
When you have a child there is so much pressure to ‘get it right’ that you’re left constantly wondering whether you’re spending too much time making memories that you’ve not spent enough time cherishing those special moments. Here are some tips for making and cherishing memories with your children and getting the best of both worlds.
Talk and Listen
Talking to your child about their worries, fears, likes and dislikes is a very important part of learning effective communication, but it also allows them to air anything that may have disrupted their day. No matter how trivial it may seem, these moments will help build a strong and trusting relationship between you and your children. Hopefully, this will translate into their teenage years and adulthood, and they will be more likely to come to you willingly when faced with a problem.
It’s also important to think about how many times in a day you’re giving your children instructions. While this is important for their well-being, ask yourself is that the only time you really communicate? Taking time to talk and listen to each other will bring you closer together.
Make Time for Family Time
We all lead busy lives, and when you’re juggling work, making dinner, housework, school runs and anything else the day might throw at you, it’s easy to forget about simply enjoying the time you’re spending together. Making time to spend together as a family is crucial, whether it be heading out to the cinema or curling up in front of the TV. These are the moments you and your children will cherish forever.
Don’t Avoid Sensitive Subjects
It’s understandable that you want to protect your child from the scary parts of the world but eventually, they will have to face reality. Whether you lose a loved one due to natural causes or while in service, it can be a difficult thing to talk to your children about. But if the topic is approached tactfully, you’ll find that your children can be more understanding than you thought. Showing them pictures of relatives’ cremation urns for the ashes of military and veterans will help them understand many things such as death and the sacrifice that many have made for the sake of our country.
Involve Them in Creating Memories
Looking back on fond memories is amazing, and you should share that with your children too! Include them in your reminiscing by letting them help you create a scrapbook of their baby photos, or create an online gallery of your most recent vacation. Letting and helping them remember the best moments of their lives will be something they’ll cherish for the rest of their lives.
A really fun activity to do with your children that seems to have become lost over the years is creating a time capsule and burying it in your garden (or a place you all enjoy spending time together) and then digging it up when they’re older. You can put their drawings, a family photo, a favorite toy, and anything that will be fun to remember years from now.
Surround Them With Loved Ones
Spending time by yourselves as a family unit is important, but so are the other people in your lives that love you. Visit grandparents often, take them out to see friends, arrange parties at your home and surround your children with loved ones. Don’t forget to take plenty of photos to add to a scrapbook with them!
Create Family Traditions
Family traditions usually stay for generations, and it’s very possible that you already partake in traditions from your childhood. Why not create some with your children? They will provide a sense of stability, structure, and something to look forward to every day or every year. Whether that be watching a particular film on Christmas Eve, or a phrase you say to each other when going off to work or school, as long as you all love it, it will be something you’ll all cherish forever.
This can be difficult, especially if you or your spouse has erratic work patterns, or the children have after school activities. Whenever possible, prepare food and sit down together and eat a meal. Use that time to talk about your day and plan out your evening together. It can do wonders for family bonding time and will facilitate conversation tremendously. If breakfast makes more sense for your family’s schedule, that is a totally viable alternative. It’s the time together that is the most important part.
Use a Height Chart
Capturing how quickly our children are growing is a tangible way to see exactly how much time has passed and how much everyone is changing. Some people use notches in a door frame but if you want to use something more official, why not get the kids involved and create a height chart to measure every six months or so? A fun activity for the whole family that everyone can enjoy as the years go on. Here are some great examples of DIY height charts that you can make at home with the kids.
Simply Cherish the Little Moments
Life doesn’t have to be all about the grand moments or activities. Sometimes the memories that stick with us are those times when your child gives you a hug for no reason or they can sense you’ve had a bad day and draw you a picture. Or those times where you’re together as a family in the garden and you’re watching your children play. Take it all in and enjoy every moment, it doesn’t last long.