2019…A Memory Each Month
As my children were growing up, I was often hesitant to do things with them that felt overly contrived, forced or unnatural just for the sake of spending quality time together. As a result, I missed a ton of opportunities that would have otherwise built some fun memories. And while I still believe that organic, spontaneous quality time is usually the most effective, I’ve come to learn that a lack of intentionality often leads to a void.
Below is a list of memory makers that will help you in your efforts to intentionally spend some quality time with your children this year.
Take your child(ren) to their favorite fast-food restaurant, and spend a few minutes asking them these questions:
- What are you most excited about this upcoming year?
- Is there anything about the new year that makes you nervous?
- Is there something (realistic) you’d like our family to do this year that we’ve never done before?
Make your child(ren) a homemade valentines card! We all know that homemade gifts carry significant meaning when we get them from our children…and the reverse is true, too! Not artistic or creative? That’s okay…that is part of the fun and what will make it extra memorable.
On Saint Patrick’s Day, Go Green! Make plans to eat a homemade meal together as a family. Then, serve green eggs and ham and read the classic book, Green Eggs and Ham around the table.
Figure out a fun, memorable…but not too mean…way to prank your child(ren) on April 1st. If you’ve never done this it will be easy because they won’t expect it. If it’s already a family tradition, you’ll need to get extra creative in order to catch them off guard.
Bake homemade cookies as a family and deliver them to a few of your neighbors. Why? Why not! Why should Christmas time be the only time you do something nice for your neighbors?
Since fire pits are hard to come by in the summer months, make plans to have a beach bonfire a couple months early! Do everything you’d normally do (grill burgers, make S’mores etc.) but be sure to bring some warmer clothes.
Have a “Progressive Family Fun Night”. Come up with a budget and time limit for the night. Then, divide the amount of time and money you want to spend by the number of people in your family and give each person X amount of time and money to plan their leg of the evening!
A family of four who wants to spend $40 on a two-hour fun night would provide $10 and ½ hour per person to plan their segment. One family member may choose going to the 99 cent store and the next may choose Taco Bell.
Let the order of things shake out however they shake out! Tell family members to keep their plans a secret until it’s their assigned portion of the night. Half of the fun of this night is not knowing what’s coming up next!
It’s hot! Host a family night of “Ice Olympics”. Here are some examples of silly contests:
- The Polar Bear Plunge: Fill your bath tub with ice water. Who can sit in it the longest?
- Ice Cube Shot Put: Who “shot put” an ice cube the farthest?
- Ice Cube Stack: Who can build the tallest ice cube tower?
It’s hotter than blazes, and summertime is coming to a close. Wrap up the summer by allowing your children to plan an “end of summer fun day” for the whole family. Give them a budget and leave the planning to them!
Ask your child, “What is something you’ve always wanted to do/try, but have been afraid?” Assuming it’s practical and affordable, Ask them if they’d like to do that activity together and set aside a specific time to do so.
Ask your child, “Who is somebody in your life you are especially thankful for (other than immediate family)? Ask them what they think would be a fun way to express their gratitude and help them do so. Examples could be a thank you card, a small gift, a coupon for a future favor (“this entitles you to one free car wash” etc.) etc.
Studies indicate that December is the loneliest month of the year for elderly people who live in retirement homes. Pick a local retirement home and ask the management if your family can come Christmas carol, deliver goodies, etc. to brighten the spirits of residents.