Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Creating family traditions & good childhood memories

The second half of the Mommy & Me class was for the adults. The topic of discussion today was "family traditions." Not just what we do over the holidays, but what we do together with our children now, to create positive childhood memories they can take with them into adulthood.

For example, the Facilitator gave the example of her rainy day tradition. When it rained her kids would put on their raincoats & boots, and play in the rain, and jump in puddles. Afterwards they'd take a warm bath and have hot chocolate and play with large floor puzzles. What a nice thing to do (and a great childhood memory that makes!).

She pointed out that when our kids are grown and they go through difficult times, if they have positive memories and traditions to look back on, it will help them through it, and to know that there are better days ahead. I had never thought about it in those terms.

One tradition I thought of off the top of my head was carving pumpkins on Halloween. I always loved Halloween as a kid. It was my favorite holiday (and my mother's too). I have fond memories of rushing home from school and my brother, mother and I sitting on the floor, each carving our own pumpkin. The mess, the laughter, the smells, the creative artistic aspect of it all. It was fun and exciting and something I looked forward to every year.

This year I sat down with my daughter and we carved our first pumpkins together. (See here and here.) I had flashbacks the entire time of my own childhood.

As a parent I'm so focused on caring for her and making sure she has a good life. But it's also good to make a concerted effort to create those traditions in our family, for my daughter.

One tradition we currently do (and I didn't even realize it was a tradition) is we go to the farmer's market every Saturday (after Yoga class), and when we're done shopping for produce, we buy tamales and go across the street to the park to eat them. After we're done eating Astrid plays on the playground. We do this every Saturday and it's become a tradition for us. It's just something sweet we do together, and if we do it long enough Astrid will remember how she used to spend Saturday mornings with her mom at the farmer's market and eating tamales and playing in the park. It's just one good childhood memory I can give her - and I want to give her many more.

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