Think about and ask yourself what memories you left your child with today; was it a happy memory, a sad memory, or maybe even an angry memory?
Memories happen regardless of what we do. Negative experiences have a particular and lasting power. But parents can counteract that power by attending to the creation of positive memories.
It’s quite scary to think back at all of the things your children might remember about you…but you can start making positive memories from this day forward. It’s difficult to erase the negative ones but if you fill your children’s memory banks with many more positive ones then you can at least hope that some of the negative ones will be forgotten.
By regularly depositing happy, positive memories into our kids’ memory banks, we can ensure that there will be healthy dividends that will last for life.
5 Ways to Make Happy Family Memories
- Notice and highlight positive attributes and behaviors: There are plenty of opportunities to correct, reprimand or discipline a child or teen. If a child is to be emotionally healthy and strong, those times need to be over-balanced with positive comments from those who love him or her. Notice when they have made their best effort and when they have been kind or generous or forgiving. Highlight the times when they share. Show interest in what they are interested in. Paying attention to the positives creates a family atmosphere that nurtures our children’s resilience and shows them how to be a positive force in the world.
- Play with your kids: Do whatever you like to do that makes everyone laugh and enjoy themselves. Make that fort with the sofa cushions. Get on the floor and be goofy. Boogie in the kitchen. Go out in the rain and splash in the puddles. When you read to them, make funny voices for characters in the stories. Do such things regularly and often. Happy times with their parents build kids’ confidence and feelings of self-worth.
- Make a big deal about little things: Your child sees a bug. Is it just a bug? Or is it a BUG? If you walk by, it’s not memorable. But if you stop to look at it together, comment on how many legs it has, try to get it to hop on a stick, wonder aloud whether it has a family, etc. — well, now it’s a memorable event. To a growing child, there are new and important things happening every day. It’s up to us to notice and to share in their excitement.
- Go on adventures: Unusual adventures tend to stand out in people’s memories. That doesn’t mean you have to spend tons of money or go somewhere special (though, if you can afford it now and then, that’s fun too). If done with a light heart and a sense of adventure, almost any activity can become memorable. One mom I know takes her kids with her to do grocery shopping. Each week, one of the kids gets to choose a food that no one in the family has ever eaten before. When they get home, they figure out how to cook it and try it. All this is done in the spirit of adventure and fun. I’d like to imagine that they will do the same thing with their kids someday.
- Take time every night to be grateful: It’s too easy to take the positive things that happen every day for granted. A study has shown that people who take the time before bed to write down 3 things for which they are grateful are more optimistic, resilient and emotionally healthy. Create a family journal where each member writes down something that happened during the day that made them feel glad or grateful. The journal helps everyone in the family keep things in perspective.
Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.
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