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Do your kids seem to be growing up too fast? We cannot stop the clock, but we can slow down and learn how to spend quality time with family. Find out how to treasure the precious moments you have with your kids before they grow up.
I have to confess that I am a die hard Mama Mia fan. When a fellow blogger shared one of the songs with a reminder to be mindful of the precious moments we have with our children- it caught my attention.
This song (Slipping Through My fingers) holds special memories for me. I went to see the movie Mama Mia with my mom.
That doesn’t happen very often as we live thousands of miles apart, on two different continents, and I cannot see her very often. We treasure the rare moments we have together.
I was in England when the movie came out and we went to see it together. When this song started she reached out and held my hand. It was a tender moment of connection between two moms who had experienced the truth captured by the lyrics.
“Slipping through my fingers all the time- I try to capture every minute -The feeling in it”
“Sleep in our eyes, her and me at the breakfast table – Barely awake I let precious time go by”
“Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture and save it from the funny tricks of time.”
How To Cherish Every Stage Of Childhood
Do you ever wish you could freeze the moments of time you have with your children? If only we could! Still although we cannot stop time, we can slow down our days and learn how to treasure the precious moments we have together.
Life can get really busy for parents. It is all too easy to find yourself just going through the motions, moving mindlessly from one task to another, until you fall exhausted into your bed.
Then the next day you drag yourself out of bed only to do it all again. Does that sound familiar? If this describes your life could I encourage you to stop right now and learn how to cherish EVERY moment. Here are a few ideas. Use the table of contents to jump to the sections that interest you.
Table of contents
- How To Cherish Every Stage Of Childhood
- 1. Learn a Little About Child Development
- 2. Enjoy Each Stage and Make the Most Of It
- 3. Be Realistic About Your Child’s Needs And What That Means For You As A Parent
- 4. Remember It Is Just A Stage
- 5. Treasure The Moments You Have Together
- 6. Find A Way To Record It
- 7. Build Precious Childhood Memories
- 8. Spend Quality Time With Family
1. Learn a Little About Child Development
Understanding what stage of development your children are at will help you understand their behavior. For example toddlers are at the stage when they are developing a sense of self, so for them resistance is normal and healthy. That was a huge revelation for me. Once I understood this I was able to deal with tantrums, and defiance calmly and accept that this was just a stage. Well most of the time anyway!
I would highly recommend the free printable child development sheets from Iowa State University. These are the best free resources I have discovered to date.
They cover every age and stage from birth to age 11. Each sheet gives an overview of the physical, mental, emotional and social development for a particular stage. They also provide ideas for parents and suggestions for age appropriate books and toys.
2. Enjoy Each Stage and Make the Most Of It
Each stage has its own set of joys and challenges. I know that when you are in the midst of the “terrible twos” it can be tempting to wish the time away. Instead why not focus on the things you can do now with your children and enjoy those to the full. If you have an infant put aside worries about housework and enjoy cuddling your baby. There will come a time when you can no longer snuggle with your child for extended periods of time.
If you have a preschooler enjoy spending time with him or her. There will come a time when your child doesn’t want to spend every waking moment with you.
If you have teens enjoy their sense of humor and energy. Before you know it they will be heading off to university and you will miss the noise and mess.
3. Be Realistic About Your Child’s Needs And What That Means For You As A Parent
Some ages and stages are more demanding than others. If you are parenting a newborn it is probably not the best time to be taking on extra responsibilities!
If you are parenting preschoolers you will need a lot of energy and patience. You will probably want to create a simple schedule and keep outside activities to a minimum.
There is plenty of time to do all the things you want once your children are older. You can have it all, but some of your dreams may have to wait a few years.
4. Remember It Is Just A Stage
Some ages and stages are very challenging, but they will pass.
I remember the mess and chaos of those early years. Toys and clutter seemed to fill every level surface.
One time my sons decorated the wallpaper with crayons!
Another time they decided to see what happens when you put gum in your hair.
These were very normal things for children their age to do. Yes, there will be days when the noise and mayhem may drive you crazy, but I promise it will pass.
Eventually your children will learn to clean up after themselves (yup honest!). Then your surly uncommunicative teen will grow up and start talking to you again. Hang in there. Talk to other parents who have been there. Recognize this is entirely normal. It is just a stage. It will pass.
5. Treasure The Moments You Have Together
As much as possible put aside distraction and simply enjoy what you are doing together in the moment. Take the time to really notice your children while they are still with you. Be conscious of the dimples that appear when your baby smiles at you; how your preschooler’s hand feels in yours; the funny faces your child makes when they are concentrating; or how your teenage daughter looks when talking animatedly about something that is important to her.
6. Find A Way To Record It
If you enjoy writing use a journal to create a record of your days with your children. Write about the special moments you have with your children; record the funny and insightful things they say; describe the way they looked. I love this One Line A Day Journal for busy parents or this classic Moleskin Journal for those who like to write more. One day these journal entries will hold a treasure trove of memories both for you and your children.
- Record the funny and insightful things they say
- Describe the way they looked.
- Record the things you love about having a child that age.
If writing isn’t your thing keep a camera handy. Snap a picture when your child smears Vaseline all over their head! Record the amazing fort your children build in the living room. Take pictures of the time they decided to roll in the mud.
Try and capture the look of enchantment when they hold a kitten or spot a rainbow. It’s amazing how many things we can forget. One day these journal entries and/or photographs will hold a treasure trove of memories both for you and your children.
7. Build Precious Childhood Memories
Recently one of my cousins posted an old photograph on Facebook. It was a picture taken in my grandmother’s garden.
That one picture unleashed a flood of comments from family reminiscing about my grandparents and the time we spent in their house and garden.
- We spent more time in Nana’s garden, the camp and Granddad’s shed, than our own.
- It was home and I loved it there.
- Happy days
- Granddad’s shed was like a palace from a kid’s point of view.
When I was growing up I lived next door to my grandparents. My mom came from a large family, so there was always family coming and going. We children practically lived over at my grandparents. There are so many memories.
You probably have memories of your childhood and time spent with family. I hope they are glorious memories! Those special recollections of the joy and wonder of childhood. Memories of blissful days before the responsibilities of adulthood made their presence known. These moments are so special to us that a photograph, a song, a smell can cause us to flashback in an instant. Yes those were the good old days.
These Are the Good Old Days For Your Kids
Now I want to remind you of something really important. These ARE the good old days for your children.
They are living the joy and wonder of childhood RIGHT NOW. And you get to participate in it. You get to watch as their memories are recorded. Or not!
Will you recognize these moments as they unfold? Or will you be too busy? When those memories are being forged will you be a part of them? Or will you be too distracted?
As our kids grow older, let’s do everything we can to participate in those special times with our children. Let’s stop, slow down and simplify before they go out into the world. Let’s embrace the wonder of childhood with our children.
We may need to let go of some expectations. We may need to do drop some things from our to do list. Instead let’s make quality time with family a priority and forge memories with our children. That is the most precious gift of all.
Yes these ARE the good old days.
Our children are precious gifts! Times passes by in a flash, so treasure the precious moments with your children while they are still with you. What do you enjoy most about your life with your kids right now? What do you want your children to remember about this time in their life?
8. Spend Quality Time With Family
This is perhaps one of the best ways to make the most of the time you have with your kids. Their childhood will pass in a flash, but you can grab a hold of those moments and spend time together. It will make a huge difference.
Playing with your kids is a wonderful way to enjoy some quality family time. My printable Play Activity Cards make it so easy. All the activities use household items and don’t need any preparation. Download your set today.
Finding Quality Time for Family
When I was doing a course on microeconomics I learned about the concept of scarcity. Scarcity is a problem that arises when people have many wants, but limited resources. When this happens we must make choices between our wants. We make these decisions by giving up (trading off) one want to meet another.
At times I experience scarcity in our garden. We have a limited amount of space and I have to choose what I want to plant. Sometimes I will give up my desire to grow one plant, so I can plant another.
Our time is a limited resource, so we have to make choices about how we use it. When we over-schedule our days we stress our breaking points. When that happens we experience scarcity. We find ourselves multitasking and juggling commitments. Sound familiar?
The Tension Between The Urgent and the Important
Unfortunately, we tend neglect what the important to get as much done as possible. This include quality time with family. Things like shared meals, family conversations, family fun. These things are easy to put on hold. What is urgent and pressing tends to take over.
We live in constant tension between the urgent and the important. The problem is that the important task rarely must be done today or even this week.Charles Hummel
Think about where could you stop, slow down, and simplify. What can you give up to create some space for family time? How might that benefit your family life? Here’s some ideas.
- Delegate one responsibility
- List your time commitments outside of the family; underline the ones that energize you and fill you joy. Make arrangements to graciously give up one of the others.
- Say what I have done is good enough for today. Toss the to do list and go play with your kids . Let them take the lead. Learn from them. They instinctively know how to slow down and be present.
- Schedule in slow time between events – actually put them on your calendar
- Make a to don’t do list . I promise that the world will not end if you say no.
- Sit and do absolutely nothing for a while
- Stop Multitasking.
- Limit your time on social media (NOTE to self- this one is for you).
- Write your to-do list on one single post it note –that will keep it short and manageable
How do you spend quality time with your family?
There are so many ways! Click through to get a list of 26 easy family activities! See how easy it is to spend time together.
Need something more? Check out our ultimate guide to building family bonds. It includes an epic list of 101 family bonding activities to help you spend quality time with your kids.
Looking for even more? Scroll through the family activity archives or follow me on Pinterest. I pin hundreds of great ideas.