Nowadays, we often need gentle reminders to help us take the time to create those precious family moments that we can cherish forever. It’s not so automatic when we find ourselves stressed, rushed and focused on keeping afloat. Let this article serve as a gentle reminder for you. As we come into the holiday season, take the time to allow those precious moments to flourish instead of getting swept up by the hustle and bustle of it all. Here are 9 tips for creating special family moments:
1) Remember to be a “Human Being,” not a “Human Doing” – It’s easy to go days, weeks or even months at a time just doing, doing, doing, getting things done, without really stopping to be in the moment. Your to do list will always be there and when you check off items on the list, more will get added in their place. The moments we share with the people we love, however, are irreplaceable and they are happening now, whether we are conscious of them or not. Find ways of reminding yourself of that.
2) Reminisce about your favorite childhood traditions – When we grew up, life was set a slower pace and there was more time for family traditions like Sundays spent at the park or weekend trips to the mountains or even just simple traditions of eating together at the dinner table. Take a moment to reminisce about the moments that were most special to you, and then consider how you can help create moments like that for your kids.
3) Take the time to make each holiday fun and enjoyable for the whole family – Kids usually like holidays, but for parents, holidays can often mean more stress and more money spent. When we aren’t excited about the holidays, we dull down the excitement for our kids, and we end up just waiting for them to be over. It’s time to change your perspective on holidays. While many people feel holidays are too commercialized and that it’s just a way for stores to make more money, it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s time to get back into the spirit of celebration and tradition. Take each holiday, whether it be Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day or any other, and think about what your favorite part of each holiday is, and then express that when the day comes. For Thanksgiving, maybe it’s a time for you and your family to express your gratitude. On Valentine’s Day, maybe it’s not about buying roses and candy but instead about expressing how much you love each member of your family. Get to the heart of each holiday and bring out the fun and enjoyment with your whole family. Decorate, and play games, read stories and watch movies related to the holiday.
4) Create your own holidays – Take one day a month and create your own holiday around it. Have fun creating some unique family moments that only your family engages in. Perhaps you will create Magic Day or Silly Day or Just Because Day. Come up with something the whole family can enjoy and really get into the theme of it in every way you can.
5) Spend more time noticing the earth’s beauty – In our normal hustle and bustle, we are often missing the most beautiful parts of nature and life. And with all of the technology that our kids are used to, they are being deprived of exploring nature like we used to do when we were kids. Take a block of time each week when the whole family gets outside and discovers the wonder of what is there. To name just a few ideas, you could play in the leaves, go fishing, go flower picking, collect leaves, or go for a walk.
6) Make your child’s bedtime a special time – This is the perfect opportunity to create a ritual that will help your child feel loved and safe. Nighttime routines help provide structure that kids yearn for. By reading to your child, talking about the things you are grateful for and tucking him into bed, for example, you can create a tradition that your child will always remember and cherish.
7) Make something not-so-great special – When I was a kid and we would lose power in a storm, my mom would break out the candles, snacks and the board games, and we would have so much fun playing together by candlelight. It’s such a cherished memory of mine and it is something I have passed onto my son as well. How can you make something fun that normally wouldn’t be fun?
8) Spend time with your family that doesn’t involve technology – We’ve come to rely on technology so much that it’s easy to not be fully present when you are with your family. Perhaps you are helping your child with her homework but you are also checking out Facebook on your phone, texting someone or watching TV. It’s important to have some moments be all about the moment and the person you are with. So make sure you put aside the technology during those moments and be there fully.
9) Remember it’s never too late to start creating special family moments – For many of us, it may seem impossible to start new family traditions now when we haven’t done so for so long. We may beat ourselves up about it and yet, we may procrastinate because we either don’t know where to be begin or we feel like at this point it’s too late. But a special moment can be created at any point in time no matter what the circumstances are! It’s never too late and even if you only have 5 minutes, a special moment can be created. People, and especially kids, are very adaptable, and you’ll be surprised how quickly and easily those moments can take root when you take even the smallest step.