Creating Family Traditions and Memories

Having Twins Today, Issue #009 – November 2011

In this Issue:

1) Creating Family Traditions and Memories Click Here!

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Creating Family Traditions and Memories

Submitted on behalf of Primrose Schools: preschool making a remarkable difference in your child's early education by Emily Patterson (@epatt1062)

When you think back on memories of your own childhood, it is the time spent interacting with others that you are likely to remember the best. Chances are that money had little to do with establishing those memories. Cherished memories aren’t bought. They are created by families spending time together, sharing holidays, activities and pastimes.

Even something as simple as a shared meal can have a profound effect on a child’s life. According to a study conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, when families regularly eat together, not only are the children are more likely to get better grades in school, they are less likely to smoke, drink, become depressed and develop eating disorders.

There is no charge for creativity, no fee for imagination. Often, all that is needed is a theme to get the creative juices flowing, and autumn offers a variety of themes centered around the season. Here are 10 ways for families to celebrate the season together, building memories that will be cherished for many seasons to come.

1. Road Trip. The best conversations often take place in a car. When the eyes are engaged in observing the surrounding vistas, the talk can wander off into even more distant landscapes. Encourage intimacy and conversation with a drive through countryside filled with fall foliage. Bring along a plant encyclopedia for an older child, to help everyone identify the different types of trees.

2. Collect Leaves. In today’s world of technological gadgets, pressing leaves in a book is almost a lost art. Introduce the pastime to the family, collecting autumn leaves that reflect all the colors of fall. Children will find it hard to resist checking and re-checking the pages to see the effects of pressing. When ready, allow the kids to attach the leaves to a windowpane for a glowing decoration.

3. Rake Leaves. Jumping into a pile of raked leaves is an experience every child will remember and cherish for life. Finding joy in a seasonal task is one way to teach children that chores can bring their own rewards.

4. Fall Picnic. Don’t let a chill in the air keep the family from enjoying an outdoor picnic before the weather becomes prohibitive. There is something about a shared meal that anchors family values, and when it’s a moveable feast, it demonstrates to children that the security found in a family meal at home is something that can be transported anywhere.

5. Pumpkin Patch. These days, you don’t have to live in the country to enjoy choosing the family pumpkin from a pumpkin patch. Look for patches set up on supermarket parking lots or empty lots of land. Letting the family decide beforehand what the size is wanted and what price will be paid will help avoid public squabbles.

6. Apple Picking. If your family is fortunate enough to live near an area with apple orchards, don’t miss participating in this favorite fall tradition. Everyone will enjoy the picking, and will be far more likely to eat the harvest than if you buy apples from a supermarket.

7. Seasonal Decorations. Let decorating for the holidays become a family endeavor. Have the kids collect fall leaves, berries and pine cones outdoors, then supervise a few simple craft projects that can turn their collections into beautiful decorative accents for your home. Decorate mirrors and picture frames with rows of glued-on nuts, mass leaves in baskets and tie berries and cones with bows for table décor.

8. Cook a Meal. Comfort foods are perfect for autumn family meals, and there is nothing that children love better. Let children in on the magic of creating the perfect macaroni and cheese by tying on aprons and allowing them to participate in meal preparation. Give each child a responsibility. Even the little ones will enjoy learning about measuring cups and portions.

9. Sing-Along Bike Ride. Let your family recreate their own version of the Von Trapp family’s “do re mi” song, with a vigorous family bike ride that combines exercise with song. Take turns being back-up singers while one child takes center stage.

10. Plant for Spring. Encourage participation in the cycle of life. Turn digging bulbs, roots and rhizomes into a family activity. Show children how to store tender plants for winter, and how to plant bulbs for spring bloom. Let the kids create their own labels to identify the plants. Keep a calendar to mark the dates that the children planted the bulbs, when the plants first sprout and when they bloom. Children will learn that growth takes time and nurturing.

Autumn is a natural time for families to gather together, whether to snuggle under blankets near a fireplace or to enjoy the brisk weather and bright colors of life outdoors. Make the most of the year’s season of harvest and bounty with activities that will help everyone appreciate how lucky they are to share the season with their family.

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