I always get nostalgic around the birthdays of my children. I imagine most parents do. As someone who has twins, these will likely be my only children. I like to anticipate that another child is still a possibility because coming from a family with three children I’ve always been drawn towards the odd number. The truth is, as I’m just a month away from my 39th birthday I know that the chances of us having another child becomes less likely all the time; unless you’re talking about a fur baby when I finally give in to the other members of our family and adopt a cat or dog. I love my life with my kids so why mess with it? Four is a great number for travel, doubles tennis and card tournaments. When I ask other parents ‘how did you know you were done’ just about everyone tells me emphatically that they just knew. I guess I’m not there yet.
I read a fantastic article the other day on the importance of parents letting go of this imaginary number of kids that they always thought they’d have. It really hit home, although I’m still processing it. My kids turn six tomorrow, and I’m never going to have five year olds ever again. That’s huge!
The end of certain phases of parenthood we all celebrate with a sigh of relief and a high five – heck sometimes we’ll even bust out the bubbly. The end of 3AM feedings, diapers, full-time daycare fees, and colic were met with triumphant cheers. I am happy to see the tail end of all of those things. But then there are the other things that I am not ready to see come to an end – cuddles during story time, hand holding when we cross the street, or when I discover that my bed is filled with Lego (as much as I bemoan it). I’m certain parents of only children and those watching their youngest grow up feel the exact same way.
In the spirit of birthdays and time passing here are 10 ways to better treasure small moments with your child(ren):
Put Down The Phone For Them
In a recent survey on technology, “More than a third of 11 to 18-year-olds who responded said they had asked their parents to stop checking their devices.” Consider leaving your phone to charge during prime evening and weekend hours while you’re spending time with them or simply make a point of putting down the phone to talk to them when they approach you to get some attention.
Don’t Only See The World Through A Camera Lens
Getting quality photos of your children is a fantastic way to capture memories; just remember to find a balance between getting a perfect picture and ruining something remarkable with constant photos.
Watch Them While They Sleep
To non-parents this might sound a little creepy. But I doubt I’ll ever be able to get enough of watching my cute little cherubs sleep.
Save Their Cards
Artwork grows like weeds in our house. No parent can possibly save every creation their child produces, however know what’s worth saving to reflect on later. Christmas cards, birthday cards, and Mother or Father’s Day cards with heartfelt messages from your children are something you can cherish regularly.
Let Them Climb Into Bed With You
While no one gets as good a night’s rest when there is a child star fishing in the centre of the bed, allowing them into your bed for a nightmare or when they aren’t feeling well is a simple way to enjoy them.
Take Some Videos & Watch Them Together
Videos of my children practicing a song for a spring concert at school, or collecting shells along the ocean have become important memories that we all like to watch together. Just remember to back up your phone and save the best videos in multiple places, just in case.
Pay Extra Close Attention
When they are practicing something they love: whether it’s a musical instrument or simply playing with a favourite toy.
Tell Them About Your Childhood
My kids love hearing stories about me at their age. Sometimes they’ll request that we do something that I share, in a story together, and I always try to make it happen for them too.
Book Some “Dates” With Your Children
One-on-one time or even dedicated adult/kid time makes for important memories. Just this past weekend the grown-ups took our son to see a band he likes while my daughter enjoyed her first ever solo sleepover with her aunt and uncle.
Make More Rituals Together
Kids will remember things that happen often, whether it’s an annual camping trip, or ice cream on the last day of school. Try to make these things happen. It can be as simple as Sunday night movie night!
What kind of things do you do to stay present with your kids? Please share in the comments!
Sara is a freelance writer, award winning parenting blogger, and public relations specialist from Toronto, Canada. She is mother to fraternal girl/boy twins, loves music, hiking, and offbeat pop culture.