Your childhood memories last a lifetime, especially the ones that become defining moments. Children are like sponges in the early years and they easily form memories that bring them joy for the rest of their lives.

Do you have any memories that bring a smile to your face from your childhood when you think about them today?

There are many things you can do to build those lasting memories. It's a great way to teach your children joy and create a deeper bond with them. When you model a positive relationship with your kids, it'll be far more likely that they'll continue to build happy and healthy relationships in the future.

Here are some ways to create special childhood memories with your children:

1. Show your gratitude. You may feel gratitude for your children at every moment, but it's what you project to them that matters. Make sure you verbally and physically show them gratitude. When you do, the message will come across clearly that you care.

2. Create special traditions. Creating special family traditions can not only give your children great joy but it can also carry on to generations to come. In our house we have a few traditions our kids love. Even as teenagers they still love them.

Here are just a few family traditions we do.

On their birthdays we always start the day waking them up singing happy birthday while delivering a donut with a candle in it.

Every Christmas morning we do a scavenger hunt, amazing race, fear factor type of game that leads them to a final clue and reveals the big present of the season.


3. Love them unconditionally. There will certainly be times when your children make you want to explode, but make it clear to them that you still love them even when you're upset with their actions. It doesn't mean you condone their behavior, but it does mean that you love them no matter what!

4. Make time for them. Put down your cell phone or iPad and spend some quality time with them, you'll build stronger ties when you make time for your children and make an effort to participate in their interests. Ask them what they'd like to do and get involved in their life. This is a great way to enjoy some bonding time with your kids. They are only little once so enjoy every minute while you can.

5. Encourage them. When your children face a challenge, it's an opportunity for you to step up and help. Be there to nudge them in the right direction without being too aggressive. Give them words of encouragement and motivation, let them know how much you believe in their abilities.

6. Help them build confidence and independence. Tell your kids that they can accomplish anything with a positive attitude. Encourage independence in your children so they can remain confident even in situations where you're not around to help out. If you do everything for your children they will never learn.

7. Listen to your kids. They have many important lessons, ideas, and stories to share! When they know that you're truly listening to them, they also know that you care and love them.

8. Make dinner together. Having meals together as a family is important because many times that's the only time of day where everyone can be together. Instead of being silent or making small talk, use the opportunity to share love and support. Later in life, your children will remember these wonderful family dinners. In our home we all eat together and there are no electronic devices allowed at the table.

9. Schedule family time. Establish regular opportunities dedicated to building memories with your family. Let each family member choose an activity to enjoy together. Laughing and having fun together will help to build ties that last forever.

We only get one shot at parenting our children. So many people are too busy today that we forget about the basic emotional needs that our children crave.  It’s important to take the time now so your children will feel their cup of love overflowing and they in turn will pass that along.

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