When you think back to the special moments in your childhood, it’s the little things that were the most precious. If you had a rough time growing up, they’re even more so. One of my goals as a parent is to create as many of those special moments as possible. Below are a short list of some of the things we’re doing now. Note that none of them are very expensive or hard to do.
1. Weekly Movie Nights
This was Jenn’s idea. On Thursday or Friday night we set up blankets on the floor and eat our dinner and desert in front of a movie. We pause the movie to clean up after we’re done, then finish it up. We don’t watch a ton of TV in our house and none of it all together… so this is a special time for all of us.
2. Decorating Christmas Eve
We put up our tree and decorations after Thanksgiving like most folks… but on Christmas Eve, after the kids have gone to sleep, I bust out a mess of white Christmas lights and hang them all over everything. The next morning the kids always find a single strand running from their doorway all the way through the house and to the tree where this brilliantly (gaudy) display of lights is waiting for them. To me it looks a mess… but to them it’s pure magic.
3. Daddy Dates
Taking my kids out one-on-one to a restaurant is something I do occasionally. It gives Mom a break gives the child my undivided attention. It’s also a time for me to take a different role. So much of the time I’m the comedy relief, the entertainer… this gives me a chance to talk to them and be entertained by them. Good stuff all around.
Readers of this blog are hopefully familiar with the occasional audio recordings I do with my daughter called the JennaCast. I’ve been doing them every three our four months since November 2007. Jenna was 2 years old, almost three, when we started. I’ll be doing the same with my son, if he ever gets around to talking. The podcasts give my kids a chance to share in one of my favorite pastimes. It gives them permission to ‘play’ in Daddy’s world for a while. It also provides an audio scrapbook, precious moments in time, that we can all go back and listen to years from now. I think every family should have a podcast.
5. Watching The Rain, Eating Popcorn
Of all of these… this is my personal favorite. It’s the only thing from my childhood that I’ve decided to carry on to my kids. I don’t know how many times it happened… maybe only twice, but when it would rain, my mom would lay down a blanket by the glass-sliding door and make popcorn. We’d sit there, eating popcorn, and watch the rain fall. It’s one of my favorite memories. I just remember it being so relaxing… like watching a fire burn… there was always something different to see. Not to mention the sounds. To this day an overcast day makes me feel great inside… the opposite effect it seems to have on everyone else.
What traditions have you started or carried forward with your kids? Please share yours in the comments!