We try to do fun things with our kids on a regular basis. It’s not that we feel we need to entertain them (though we do feel that too), it’s more that we want them to experience life. Finding time to do things isn’t always easy, but we feel it’s important. We really don’t want our kids to experience a life full of cartoons, video games, and boredom.

We want their young years filled with fun and fond memories.

Well, both my wife and I wondered what we could do to make sure this happened. Sure we try to do a lot of activities with them, but is there something more we could do to help them love their childhood memories?

So we both sat down to make a list for us to work on. This list isn’t meant to be an all inclusive best parenting tips…just things we specifically would like to work on.

This is what we came up with…

  1. Take time to listen (really listen) to them.
  2. Keep big traditions with holidays and vacations.
  3. Keep small traditions weekly, and even daily.
  4. Work together, for example plant and maintain a garden every year.
  5. Take each kid on regular “date night,” just you and them.
  6. Let them order desert once in a while.
  7. Have a weekly “family night” were the whole family spends time together with out distractions (ie iPhones).
  8. Limit raising your voice in anger…try to only raise it during life threatening circumstances.
  9. Forgive quickly.
  10. Never argue with your spouse in front of them.
  11. Take a lot of photos…I believe you can never have too many photos of your kids.
  12. Take a lot of video.
  13. Keep a family blog, or journal.
  14. Have your kids keep an art/written journal, even if it’s very simple.
  15. Eat dinner together every night.
  16. Hug your kids goodnight, every night.
  17. Occasionally sing your kids to sleep, they don’t know what’s bad or good singing…just do it.
  18. Give your kids responsibilities they can take pride in.
  19. Praise them often.
  20. Be the first to show them new things, and places.
  21. Never gossip in front of your kids.
  22. Help your kids make and achieve goals.
  23. Teach them the importance and help them maintain healthy habits.
  24. Get down on your knees and play with your kids on their level.
  25. Laugh often.

This was our list we came up with, but I’d love to hear any suggestions from you. Let us know if we missed anything you felt we should include!

  • Jack Hadley

    Great. Reallly great stuff. I especially like #19 and numbers 1 thru 4. You two are great parents. I admire you.

    • Rob

      Hey, thanks Jack!

  • Linda

    You did not mention one of the most important – Pray with your children everyday. Take them to Church. Talk with them about God. Life is empty and meaningless without God. Everything else takes on new meaning when God is at the center of ones life.

    • Rob

      Hi Linda, thanks so much for taking time to leave a comment! You couldn’t be more correct. I should have included Him in this list.

      We do have a separate dedicated list specifically to Heavenly Father. One of my favorite parts of every day, is listening to my children pray. I really like how you put it, “Life is empty and meaningless without God.” life is more complete with Him at the center.

      Thanks again Linda!

  • http://onFaceBook,NancyJaneValleyHolder,Temple,TX Nancy Holder

    The simple thing are SO important! I remember a girl who went on Oprah years ago and her mom had created a video journal for her to remember her by, because she was dying of breast cancer. They did all the big things, Zoos, etc, but when Oprah asked her what her best memory of all that time with her mom was she said, ” One night, in the middle of the night I woke up and mom was in the kitchen and we both got a bowl of cereal and sat together and just ate cereal together in the middle of the night. Oprah’s face had that aha moment. Little things.

    I tried to Make a MEMORY with my kids by spending time in the hammock watching the humming birds over head, and planting flowers together, etc. I LOVE the photo of your kids feeding the birds.

    • Rob

      Awe such a good story Nancy! I like that. I really agree with you, it seems like those are the same kind of memories I have of my childhood.

      The small ones really do translate to the ones that meant the most. Maybe because everyone knows it’s easy to plan a big trip to Disneyland, but being present during the times when your kids need you most…is hard and easy to miss.

      I think I’m going to go to Lowe’s and buy a hammock today ;)

  • http://www.manylittleblessings.com Angie

    Really love this list! It made my heart feel full.

    • Rob

      Thanks Angie!

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  • http://www.lifeatshoresend.com/ Melinda

    Thank you so much for this post! I feel so inspired now! We are at a transitional point in out lives, older kids have moved out and it’s just my husband and me and two littles left at home now, and we’ve been having the same discussion about new traditions and doing more things as a family. Your list is just what we needed!

    • Rob

      Melinda, glad you liked it! Means a lot! I know it’s so easy to get caught up in “living” that it’s even easier to forget about “life”…but everything is so new to these small kids, it’s a blast reliving through them. It’s also amazing how much younger it’ll make you feel :)

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