Lately, I’ve been thinking about how my kids will remember their childhood. Will they hold on to the countless notes and cards I wrote for them before they could even read? Will they remember Daddy scooping them up and snuggling them into his beard, despite giggly protests? Or will my children recall their childhood as a frenetic, multi-tasking mother and a tired father who begrudgingly logged in long hours?
Between work, school, and other obligations, time is, in fact, limited with our wee ones. But we have a choice: we can worry about not having enough hours in the day, or we can make the most of what we’ve got by stealing sweet moments out of everyday events.
The kinds of lasting memories we want to be the backdrop of our kids’ childhood doesn’t mean expensive vacations or new toys; making special moments can be cheap and easy. Take it from this cheap and easy mom.
Aaaanyway, here are five fun ways I give myself to my kids, and most of them are FREE!
- Love notes: My kids are too young to read an entire Hallmark card, but the four- and six-year-olds are getting the hang of sight words and sounding out different letters. I’ve been known to decorate the insides of school folders with Post-It love notes, and have cards waiting with the kids’ breakfast to kick off a special day.
- Countdowns: When I was pregnant with their baby sister, my son and daughter asked me approximately 23,920 times a day when the baby was coming. Partly to ramp up the excitement, but mostly to bring the barrage of questioning to a ceasefire, we started a paper chain countdown. Since then, we’ve made countdowns for holidays, family vacations, and back to school. It’s a great way to be emotionally invested in the same thing, and share our feelings with one another.
- Special snacks: For a sweet and surprising departure from oatmeal, I break out the Toaster Strudel™ Strawberry Pastries for breakfast and my kids go nuts! Since General Mills is celebrating Toaster Strudel™’s 30th birthday, they’re giving us 30% more of the good stuff: the icing! I know one brown-eyedcutie who digs that idea . . .
- One-on-one time: This one is a little harder to come by (especially if you have more than one kid!), but it’s a great way to let your child know he is special and you value alone time with him. My kindergartener may have forbidden me to hold his hand at the bus stop (HOW RUDE), but he never turns down a goodsnugglefest on the couch. That’s our thing. My four-year-old loves being my sock pairing pal; laundry time is our special time! A simple trip to the mailboxcan be something to share with yourkiddo; whatever it is, make it special.
- Yes days: You’ve probably read about this idea, and may have rolled your eyes so hard it hurt your head, BUT within reason, Yes Days are pretty awesome. Can we have a Toaster Strudel™ for dinner? YES. Can I do your makeup, Mommy? YES. Can we stay up past our bedtime? YES. It’s hard to say YES because trendy parenting has us believing we’ve got to call the shots all the live long day. Does it have to be that way? NO.
I’d love to hear (and steal!) your ideas for making memories with your kids. No need to break the bank or set aside hours out of the day; what are some simple ways you share special time with your mini-me’s?