What comes to mind when you think back to your childhood home? For me, it’s when my entire family, plus extended family, would come over for Sunday dinners at my family’s home in Kansas. One of the best things we can do for our children is to create lasting memories. These often come from family traditions that are repeated throughout their lives. Whether your children will one day come home to visit the house they grew up in, or if you are a family that will move many times during your children’s lives, repeating traditions will help reinforce memories even if the location changes.
Here are some ideas for creating memories outside of the usual holiday traditions.
1. Plan a regular activity in which everyone participates. Whether once a week, once a month, or every few months, plan an activity that the whole family is required to attend, and doesn’t involve screen time. This can be game night, a walk through the neighborhood, a family talent show, crafting days, or camping in the back yard or the living room. Get creative!
2. Decorate year-round. Seasonal decorations don’t have to be limited to major holidays, and you don’t have to break your back or the bank putting them out. It can be as simple as changing your front door wreath or front porch décor, adding a seasonal change to your fireplace mantel, or changing out place settings in the dining room. In addition to celebrating the changing seasons and major holidays, have some fun by getting creative on Cinco de Mayo, Shark Week, or National Dog Week. A lot of these decorations can be DIY holding the love that made them over the years.
3. Put on some tunes. Music helps develop children’s minds and bodies in many ways. Exposure can help them in school and may instill a lifelong love of music and an interest in playing instruments. Share your favorite songs with your children, and show an interest in theirs, by playing music during family dinners, game night, play time, during household chores, or random dance parties!
4. Develop a neighborhood spirit. Get to know your neighbors, and create memories for everyone, by organizing community get-togethers. You’ll make family friends and your family will remember many great times in your neighborhood. Friday afternoon porch parties, flag football or kickball games, a dog friendly block party, or a neighborhood community service project are just a few ideas for bringing people together.
5. Start a family journal. Your family journal may become a priceless treasure one day. You might start by recording something each family member is grateful for daily or weekly. Add everyone’s favorite memories from holidays or family vacations. As your children grow, let them write about the things they consider to be significant in their lives. Reading back through your family journal later on may be poignant, hilarious, or a mystery, but you won’t regret the time you spend recording your memories together.