Making memories is a way to establish healthy relationships and connections. Family memories hold extra importance as they are the foundation on which our kids build their value and belief system.
Looking back on your own childhood, you will remember events that made you laugh and cry (sometimes cry with laughter). Memories that gave you a warm fuzzy feeling or the ‘die with embarrassment’ kind of feeling. Flashbacks taking you right back to that moment in time. Passing this on to your children is a gift we can give them to create a childhood full of fun family times.
How can we make memories that last a lifetime?
There is no standard recipe for making the perfect memory. A special occasion, a celebration, a milestone and of course, an embarrassing moment or just simple spending time together. All of these can create a memorable experience to etch into the memories of our kids so they can recall them often.
Celebrating an achievement is a way to value effort and acknowledge persistence and dedication. Whether it be a school award, a graduation or reaching a new level in sport, marking the occasion with a special dinner or an activity of that person’s choice is a great memory making opportunity.
Family Fun Time
Family activities create that special bond within a family unit; making them fun and exciting doesn’t have to be expensive.
a trip to the park or a family bike ride;
an annual weekend camping trip;
a visit to your favourite lookout;
star spotting and planet gazing;
board game nights
camp outs in the back yard
Learning something new together
Learning a new skill will encourage a healthy appetite for trying. When the family are there to offer support and guidance, children are more likely to try. If all members of the family participate in something new it can provide many laughs and lessons. Try rock-climbing, Geo-cashing, foot golf, a family obstacle race!
Bring the magic
Use your local park, beach or picnic spot as a place to foster family memories. Regular visits to a favourite spot will immediately engrave this in the minds of your kids as ‘the place we used to visit when we…’.
Try exploring the area further to enhance the experience. Beyond the playground and picnic area, there might be trees to climb, bush to explore, rivers to swim.
Look at your Go-To place from every angle and see how you can make it THE place so when kids talk about it in the future you can all relate to that one magic spot.
Make your own family traditions
Start a tradition, unique to your family. A car trip can be more fun with your own family soundtrack to sing along to. Mark a birthday or an event like Christmas with a ritual, like family pajama & movie night or seeing Christmas lights. As we approach different seasons like Winter & Christmas you can ask your kids to think about families less fortunate and make donations to your local charity or hospital.
Remember that time you learnt to ride your bike without training wheels? Or the time you caught your first fish? These milestones may not have been captured on video but they will be remembered forever. Making time to practice riding your bike, fishing, reaching a new personal best…. whatever the goal… the experience lies in the time taken by a family to be there for the practice runs as well as the success.
Create your own games
As a family you can set your own rules. If there are particular things your family enjoy then use them to create a game around that activity. If you enjoy the outdoors, you could involve the kids in a treasure hunt in your local park or even in your backyard. Maybe Saturday nights are charade nights at your place with a different theme every time.
Challenge your family to come up with a new game each month that you can play/do together.
The Not-So-Happy memories
Even memories that are tinged with sadness are notable events in a child’s life. They can be framed as lessons, as children will look to a parent for strength. When a family pet dies, for example, use this as a time to explain death and celebrate life. As a family, incorporate the chance to recall the fond memories you each share and maybe do a special activity in memory of the person or animal you lost.
Moments will arise where memories will be made without planning or structure. These are the most precious memories of all.