My son is 6 years old, closing in very quickly on 7. The thought keeps popping into my head about fun stuff we do and precious moments we share...will he remember this when he is my age? It made me have some deep thoughts about my own childhood and what really makes memories stick. And what will really matter in the long term?
I decided to make a list of things that I feel will make the biggest impact on our kids, both now and all the way through their adulthood. Ready? Let's begin!
Listen to your child(ren)
I know, it sounds so basic and simple right. But this has a huge impact! If your children feel they are listened to, and can come to you with anything, that is a special thing they are unlikely to forget. Just earlier today, my son was sharing with me things that happened in school today. I listened to the full story, intensely. And I engaged in conversation with him. He won't remember the exact conversation perhaps, but he won't forget that I always gave him my time. I was there, willing and able to listen to what he has to say. Everyone is guilty of saying, "hold on hun, I'm busy right now...", but try to limit those times as much as possible. What could really be more important than your children? Tell the other thing to wait when possible.
Hugs & Affection
This is an easy one. Most mothers I know are all over their kids with hugs and kisses. But other mom's (and dad's) might not be so physically affectionate. Everyone is different, right? But try. Give them hugs, show them love. They will never forget the love you show them! Ever! If being affectionate doesn't come easy to you, just one hug a day will make your child feel safe, secure and protected. Not to mention, of course, loved! Speaking of love, say "I love you" too! I can't send my son off to school, or off to see his dad without telling him I love him. Perhaps this is morbid on my end, but I always think what if something were to happen to me...or him. I want the last thing said to be "I love you".
This does not have to be some big major event. It does not need to be based only around some holiday event. We have some of the most simple and basic traditions. They don't have to be fancy or complicated. We have a family game night as well as a family bible study night. Yeah, I think we all have more fun with the game night, but we try to make the bible study fun too! We do this on a weekly basis, so they can be a frequent event.
Eat Dinner as a Family
Yes, family dinners...at a table! I know some families have totally gotten away from this. It's grab a plate and run off to separate ends of the house, or sit mindlessly in front of the television. Try to have a family dinner, at the table, with the TV off, at least once a week. More if possible! Talk to your family! Ask how everyone's day was and if there is anything to share. This really helps the family unit remain close and connected.
Playtime with your child is so important. Sometimes as busy adults, we forget the power of play. Get down on the floor and build with those blocks! Make something with those Legos! Remember that game, Hide and Seek? Oh my gosh, huge hit at my house! It doesn't matter that we always hide in the same 5 places each time we play...my son never gets bored with it. And as long as he is having fun, and I see that smile on his face...it is fabulous to me!