Thursday, December 11, 2014

What My Children Taught Me About Making Memories

Yesterday I reviewed and featured Dr.Susan Newman's new edition of Little Things Long Remembered: Making Your Children Feel Special Every Day (Read my review). She's giving away lots of copies, so be sure to enter the giveaway.)

I found her book to be a useful handy resource, and I've enjoyed reading her articles.Today, I invited her to guest post on my blog. The perfectionist in me was so pleased with her topic. Read on.

What My Children Taught Me About Making Memories
Forget attempts to be a picture-perfect parent.

As parents, we can’t help but want to make picture-perfect memories.

But often, the mistakes or the unexpected are hilarious and what kids remember best. In our house, for instance, we all remember and laugh about the brown frosting on a birthday cake they made for me when it was supposed to be purple—caused by too many drops from the wrong food coloring bottle. The kids also remember my counting cookies into individual containers so each one got the exact same number. It was something I always did and they still laugh about it as grownups.

A recent study from Harvard confirmed my longtime thinking and my children’s recollections that simple, mundane and ordinary memories — not dazzling, over-the-top trips or hugely expensive gadgets — are what people remember most fondly. Small parcels of time well spent shape long-lasting memories that are the backbone of family unity and the glue that holds families together.

Mundane rituals foster closeness

Young children like routines, such as reading a book together for a few minutes every evening or eating breakfast together, because they foster a sense of warmth, closeness and security.

Joint activities, like preparing a meal together, (very young chidren can help wash veggies, mix pancake batter or set the table), provide time to talk and allow children to feel as if they are contributing to family life. Afterward, sitting down and enjoying what you’ve made together — no matter how “messy” the pancakes look or how imperfect the place setting — is both a reward and a warm memory your children will look back on fondly.

Clap hard for imperfection

Another way to cultivate togetherness and create memories is to hold impromptu talent shows at home for your children and their friends. Give the youngest a spoon to keep the beat on a pot. Whether or not you have future singing or playing sensations — or can even hold a note or remember lyrics yourself — fun abounds in the midst of unrecognizable tunes banged out and sung enthusiastically and loudly.

Your children will recall your enthusiasm — not whether or not the event was perfect or close to concert quality.

Often, just being together in the same room and paying attention to your child can be enough.

About Dr. Susan Newman:
Susan Newman is a social psychologist and parenting expert focusing on issues related to raising children and family relationships. She is a contributorto Psychology Today magazine where she writes about parenting and is the author of 15 books on family concerns, most recently, LittleThings Long Remembered: Making Your Children Feel Special Every Day. For more see: or follow her on Twitter and Facebook
Dr. Newman taught at Rutgers University, is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Authors Guild, and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. She is a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for abused and neglected children and lives in the New York Metro area. She is the mother of one son and four stepchildren.

Dr. Newman is generously giving away fifteen copies of her book Little Things:

And 3 copies of The Case for the Only Child

Like parenting books? Enter here.

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