Thinking back to my childhood for a minute, most of my favorite memories involve doing some of the simplest, un-extravagant things, like fishing in the river down the street from our house, riding my bike, and spending time with my friends. Unfortunately very few of them include memories made with my parents. It is not that they were bad parents, it is just that they were less present than what was needed to make lasting memories.
This was one of the many things that I vowed to do better when our first child was born. But how do you make lasting memories with your kids?
I think it starts with being present in the moment, it is not about the big road trips, how big the christmas present was, or how many gifts you got your kids.
They may remember all these things but are less likely to remember it as a lifelong memory with you, their parents.
Parents may set out to do their very best, providing the physical needs they believe are appropriate, but forgetting the attentiveness, emotional closeness, and support that children need to develop a stable base from.
Giving a child your undivided attention is more likely to create positive memories upon which to build their future, than keeping up to date with social media, work emails, or whatever else we do online.
If memory making is part of a daily parent/child relationship, even just half an hour a day spent giving full attention to our children, it will make an enormous difference to how they develop and grow into balanced, stable adults.
Our family is blessed to be able to spend a disproportionate amount of time together as both myself and Michele work from home, we spend at least three months a year traveling with our kids. For this alone I think I’m the luckiest person in the world, I get to experience and live vicariously through them everyday (the good and the bad)
Being psychologically available is more than just answering their questions. When as parents we give children our full attention, we become open and available to them and we get to know them in a way not otherwise possible.
Being attentive to their emotional needs and noticing the nuances, will help us to respond with empathy and understanding, with love and support.
Parents who are available in this way, will help their children develop their:
- Emotional self-awareness
- Verbal communication
- Psychological resilience
- Relationship skills
- Acceptance of themselves and others
- Ability to give and receive affection
- View of what is right and what is wrong
- Their ability to love, understand and respond appropriately to others
Here are some of our top memory makers.
- Travel with your kids
- Spend 30 minutes just chatting on the bed before bedtime
- Friday night family movie night (this is big night in at home, and a big deal)
- Have a campfire in your backyard. Ps. kids love to play with fire, be present, supervise and let them have as much safe fun as possible.
- Cook or bake together, our daughter Amber (10 yrs old) is one of the best bakers I know and dare I say it, better than her mom
- Volunteer as a family, for this one make sure you prep your kids and make sure that it is something they are interested in.
- Partaking in their favorite sport, “Their” favorite being the key
- Daddy or Mommy and me day, this is a tradition in our family, every Wednesday my daughter and I go for lunch, and every Tuesday or Thursday is soccer with my boy.