20 Feb Children remember time spent together
by Katelin Whiddon
As adults, we have things we hope to do in our lifetime. Some of us have a written list, while others keep mental notes of things we hope to see or accomplish. While our children’s dreams and wish lists change more often than their clothes, they still have an agenda they would love to do with their loved ones and friends.
Try taking a day to let your children choose what you do together. Talk to them to see what they are interested in seeing, doing or learning. Find things nearby that can help engage them while spending quality time together. Arkansas is a beautiful state and there is so much that can be done in our own backyards. There are lots of activities that are appropriate for each of the seasons.
We get stuck inside, often doing housework and the like, but try to get out and get some fresh air together. Unfortunately, times have changed since our childhood and kids can’t just run around town and come home in time for dinner. Getting the whole family outside together is a nice change! Have a picnic lunch outside, fly a kite, watch the sunset together, stay up late on a clear night to watch the stars or a meteor shower. In hot weather, turn on sprinklers or water hoses and have water fights at home. Try making homemade ice cream or frozen treats. Or, go camping – even if it is in your backyard – and roast marshmallows or make s’mores.
Another fun idea is to let your children photograph the day. Get them a disposable camera or even use a cellphone camera (if they are old enough). Sometimes seeing the important parts of the day through their eyes helps us to see what they love and value the most. You can even make a fun scrapbook or a simple photo album to commemorate fun times you have together. These are the types of items that families (children especially) treasure.
On these days, try to unplug. Leave the cell phones aside and completely invest yourself in your children and family. It is so easy to get wrapped up in technology and our own agendas that we miss out on what is happening right in front of us. Taking some time to truly pay attention to life in the present is so refreshing and beneficial to the whole family. Our children will always remember the time we spent with them.
Sit down and make a list of all of the things you and your family might want to do together. Laminate the list and put it in a special place for the family to see – maybe even frame it. As you complete items from the list, cross them out together and watch your relationships and memories grow.
A Conway native, Katelin Whiddon is a nurse practitioner at the Conway wound clinic for Arkansas Heart Hospital. She and her husband, Daniel, have two daughters. A University of Central Arkansas graduate, she has her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and works in pediatrics.