If you know me, you know how much I live for the ‘remember the time?’ moments with the kids. Simple, seemingly small things that you can do with the kids can create the biggest impact – they don’t have to be lavish, they don’t have to be expensive, they just have to count.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to make moments count and that will likely turn into ‘remember that time…’ moments with your own kids. Try them – trust me, you’ll see.
Sparklers after Bedtime
This one’s easy (and inexpensive). As you’re putting the kids to bed one night, go through the whole routine, get them tucked in – and then tell them that you have an idea. Tell them to follow you downstairs (it has to be dusk or dark for this one to be the most effective) and grab a package of sparklers. Head outside in your pajamas and light them up, making bedtime wishes.
Sleep in a Tent Indoors
Olivia still talks about the two times that we’ve set up a tent indoors. One time I slept with her and Violet as we watched movies on the iPad and had a cardboard fire (you can find one for cheap, here). It was a terrible sleep, for me, but they loved every moment of it. Mostly, how the tent filled up the entire living room.
Can’t Sleep? Let’s Go For a Walk
This one’s easier in the winter, because bedtime usually happens when it’s already dark out. Stash this idea for the times that the kids can’t sleep. Instead of sending them back up the stairs like usual, invite them for a walk around the block. Ten minutes, holding hands and pointing out stars and you’ve got a magical moment.
Impromptu Road Trip
Wake them up, don’t tell them where you’re going – and make it one of their favorite places. It doesn’t have to be far, the element of surprise is what’s going to make this moment magical.
Wake up, get ready for school. Drive them most of the way to school and then turn to them and ask if they want to go on an adventure. Chances are they’re going to say yes and you can spend the day together. They’ll make up for the day later, don’t sweat one day of missed school.
Share a Tradition
Maybe you sing them the same song every night, maybe you’ve got something that you do on Sunday mornings. Make it a tradition that they’ll enjoy straight into adulthood and look back upon it with fond memories.
Focus Focus Focus
One of the best moments spent at bedtime are the moments where Olivia will open up about her day – it just so happens it’s right before she goes to sleep (stalling tactic maybe?). I spend ten minutes focusing on her, answering any questions she asks and rubbing her hair as she spends time winding down before bed.
Half Cake Day
Birthdays are a fun reason to eat cake – but I remember reading somewhere about half-birthdays and eating half a cake, and thinking that it would be a great idea. Combined with a “Now you’re five and a half” song, sang by us, it’s a fun way to celebrate (and an excuse to have cake).
STOP! It’s Dance Party Time
Whether you’re stressed, they’re stressed, they’re whiny or you’re whiny – it’s usually not anything that a dance party can’t fix. Just stop, put on the fastest music you can find and dance. Dance your heart out, do silly moves and encourage them to move. At the end, when everyone’s tired – it’s the perfect opportunity to cuddle.
Each of the girls has different colored post-it notes that I leave for them around the house. Olivia’s are blue and Violet’s are pink. On them are little notes about things that they’ve accomplished that day, a simple ‘I love you because..’ or thoughts that are running through Jamie’s or my mind to leave for them. They smile when they see the notes, and immediately ask me to read them, or sound them out.
What are some of the ways that you create magical childhood moments?