Making memories as a family is one of my main priorities as a parent. I desire my children to look back on their time at home with us, and have some memories stick out more than others. The kind of memories that went against the grain of my daily parenting. The kind that took them by surprise and captured their heart because they ‘knew‘ I was in the moment and that it was all about them!
10 Things Parents Should Do With Their Children At Least Once
Our children grow so quickly and before you know it, they will be ready to leave your home. Why not send them off with some memories that they can look back and see that their parents are fun and exciting? It will give you a lot to laugh about together!
My husband grew up camping and loved it. I only have a few memories of camping in a tent. We wanted to give our children some of those memories and so we made it a point to do that a few times. We made such awesome memories doing that with our children that it was worth it for us to get away from the normal of life and become secluded with just our family.
Have Ice Cream for Dinner
Years ago, my nephew was visiting us and it was his first time. I wanted to make him feel special, so I asked him what he would like for dinner. He had just turned 13, so I wasn't too surprised when his reply was ‘ice cream'. I will never forget the reaction when I said, “Okay! Let's go to the store to get ice cream for dinner!” He smiled the whole time and to this day, as he is quickly approaching 30, he often will mention the day ‘we had ice cream for dinner'.
Knowing the impression it left on him, I have made it a yearly tradition to have ice cream for dinner one summer day. We go out and buy peanuts, bananas and toppings for our own banana splits and giggle over ice cream for dinner.
Take the Day Off and Let Them Plan the Day
Not everyone has the ability to just take a day off when they feel like it, but this can be planned in advance, just don't let your children know until that day arrives.
When they get up, tell them it is a special day and they get to plan the whole thing!
If you need to, you can give them a budget for the family to do something with or just say it has to fit in the FREE category. This privilege will be a memory that they will not easily forget and neither will you!
Talk About Your Childhood Memories
Sometimes, it is hard for our children to picture us at their age. One of our favorite things to do is talk about when we were our children's age and the kind of memories we have of family time, birthdays or just random things that our memories hold.
Alright, I'm not a fishing loving kinda of mom, but my boys love fishing. When my son's last year of high school had started and although we value education of books, I wanted to give him something a little different for starting out his last homeschooling year. When they woke up that morning, I told our children that we were going fishing for our first day of school.
I'm sure you could only imagine the joy that filled our home that morning and the busyness of my boys gathering their gear, while my daughter grabbed her camera for a chance to enjoy her love of photography.
While we were there, I wanted to remind my son that we are called to be fisher of men before we are called to do anything else. I was so proud of that moment that I just went with a desire rather than sticking to the books. I know he will never forget that day or his first catch in a new fishing spot that we went to that day!
Start a Food Fight When Dinner Didn't Turn Out
I will never forget the first time (yes, this has happened more than once in our home) when what I made for dinner didn't turn out the way it should and I felt so disappointed with myself. As I sat at the table trying to figure out what I missed or didn't do correctly, my family was trying to encouragement me that I'm a great cook and other stuff to help me not be too bothered that no one liked it.
I knew I was going to throw the food away, so I started throwing it around the table. The next thing I knew we were all laughing, well, maybe not my husband because he removed himself from the realm of flinging food and looked at me with a shocked face. There was food everywhere around the table, on the walls and on the floor. We all picked it up, laughing again and again.
This isn't something that has happened more than three times, but each time has proven to my children that life is better when we laugh at our mistakes and seize the opportunity to make memories.
Get Your Child Out of Bed When They Least Expect It
Yes, I know! You think I'm crazy. I may be, but crazy with amazing memories.
I have gotten my children out of their deep sleep to enjoy something with them that I didn't expect. One time it was a family of raccoons on our back porch. Another time it was to look at the night's sky that was absolutely amazing.
These times always proved wonderful for breakfast conversations!
One time, I even got my children up to watch one of my favorite movies when I was their age. We now have a DVR, so I wouldn't do that again for the TV purpose.
Talk About a Foolish Thing You Did in Your Childhood
Children feel so foolish at times, especially during the ages of 10 through 15, when so many things are changing in their bodies and they are dealing with things that are so new to them. Add to that, the things that they should know better but still do foolish things again and again.
It is during these times that correcting them can seem overwhelming and daunting as a parent. There is something special when a child knows that correction is coming and instead they get a heart to heart with a parent that shares some of their own foolishness during this age and how they learned to overcome the foolish or their own consequences for continuing in them.
Again, children just have a hard time relating to their parents as people that have walked in their shoes. Maybe it is because many of us don't talk about these things with our children or because children are so absorbed in their own world to even think about others, but either way, this is so effective that you may choose to do it more than once.
Play with Your Kids Without Being Asked
Our children have always asked us to play things with them, from board games to outside sports. Often times, these requests come at inconvenient times for parents, but imagine the delight of a child's heart when you approach them to play something. It is truly PRICELESS.
Jump on the Bed With Them
Yes, I'm certain that I'm going to hear from some readers about how jumping on expensive beds is not responsible and that it can damage the mattress.
I already know this, but there is absolutely nothing like grabbing the hand of your child and taking a few jumps on your bed together. In fact, it is one of those things that I have done with all four of my children. It may just be that I love children and I love to hear them giggle, but remember my title… ‘at least once‘. How badly can you damage your bed, if you only do it once? (Don't answer that)
If you can't bring yourself to do this one thing that is okay!
You can hide under the blankets with them, or use a flashlight while you talk about something important to them. All of these have been practiced and loved in our family, so maybe you can find a way that you can make a memory, filled with giggles for your children in your bed, other than TONS of cuddling time.
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