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What REALLY matters: Things I never want our kids to forget

Update: This post was first written several years ago, but it still holds true today, so I wanted to share it again…

Things I never want our kids to forget: 

It comes down to family time.  Spending time with our children is so important, which is why I wanted to share the things we never want our kids to forget.  

As a mom, we can impact our children’s lives in more ways than we know.   If I could be any Mom in the world, I would be just like my mom.  I have remembered things about my childhood that I will never forget.  I want to do these things with my kids, too…

1).  You always greeted them at the door when they came home

My Mom was always waiting for us when we came home from school, from a friend’s house, from a party.  Giving your child your full attention when they see you after being away is important- let them know that you’ve missed them!

Whether you pick them up from preschool or daycare or if you see them when they come home from school- give them your full attention.  Get off the phone, computer, and tablet… and be there for your child.

2).  Seeing them was the best part of your day!

I try to greet our kids as my grandma greeted me when she saw me… as I had just made her day!  When our kids wake up, I say, “Oh, Allie!  I am so happy to see you this morning!  I missed you while we were sleeping!”

3). You treated them like they were important.

My parents have been married for over 35 years.  I heard them enjoying each other’s company every day.  They found ways to show each other that they loved one another.  When my husband & I got married, my Dad said: “Remember that if it is important to one of you, it is important.”  I see my parents living this every day.

4). You pray together at night

Our kids know that we will sit down and say our prayers together every night. Use our printable prayer hand to help teach your kids to pray.   (Or grab these Independent Prayer Cards for Kids) We read a devotional that teaches real-life stories (being kind to others, treating your sibling with respect).

5). You respected others… if you do, they will, too!

I always saw the way that my mom treated others and the way that she talked about others. It was never done negatively in front of us. She was always kind and if she had negative words to say about someone, I certainly didn’t know it.

6). You volunteered and they helped

Teaching our kids to volunteer when they are young is so important. Teach them why you take meals to women that have babies or why you send a card to that family when there has been a death. Let them join in.

7). You had them read to you every day & you read to them, too!

Oh yes, I could go on and on about the educational benefit of reading (trust me- it is even more important than you think!), but I want to talk about the EMOTIONAL bond that happens when you read with your child.  My mom used to sit and read Little Women to me every night.  Just a few pages or even a chapter.  It didn’t take long, but here I sit, as an adult, remembering those moments fondly.

8). You cooked their favorite meal on their birthday

My mom made my favorite dinner every year on my birthday. We do this with our kids, too. We don’t go out to eat on their birthdays. Instead, we stay home and have all of their favorites! They love it!

9). They slept in your bed when they were sick.

Oh- sleeping in my parents’ bed when I was sick was such a treat (along with eating Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream, of course.)

10). Your cookies were awesome (because you let them help!)

That smell of fresh chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven when your kids get home from school. There is a reason that you see it on commercials so often- because it is a happy memory.

11). They didn’t feel rushed with you

Stop being so rushed.  Take a minute to let them do what they need to do.  (Ex: Let them tie their own shoes even if it takes longer than when you do it.) What does it really matter if you are three minutes behind schedule? I have to remind my husband of this all the time… It’s ok if we are a few minutes late because today… our kids came first.

12). You listened closely when they talked…


I watched an episode on Oprah once, where Maya Angelou told Oprah that one time her son brought her a picture that he had made and when he showed it to her, she didn’t give him her full attention and just said something like “its nice”.

He then took that same picture, ripped it up and threw it in the garbage can.  When Maya Angelou, she asked him why he did that, he said that it was because she didn’t like it because she didn’t look at it.  She vowed then & there to pay attention to everything that he showed her.  Our children are watching us and waiting for us to pay attention to them.  To listen to them.

I always felt like I had my Mom’s full attention, and I still do.   I know that if I am talking to her, she is listening.  What a wonderful feeling to know that someone cares about you enough to really LISTEN

Related Post: “Look in my eyes when I talk”

13). You would LAY WITH THEM every night.

When our children ask us that question… “Mommy, will you lay with me?” What do we normally say? “Just for a second, sweetie.  I have to clean up the kitchen and start laundry and…. ”

But… Do you know what?   This is when the good stuff comes out.    This is when I hear all of those stories, those little details that seven-year-olds don’t tell their moms anymore. This is when our mother/son relationship becomes a ‘one day best friend’ relationship.

14). You used to get on the floor to play with them (not just watch).

You used to play dress up, play pirates, play army guys, play princess… with your child and you enjoyed it!   Don’t let them forget that. I am a play therapist– it is my job to play with other children, but I need to remember that my OWN children need playtime.

Not just “let me sit and watch you” time.  They need mommy to get down on the floor or go outside and play one of these games, just to get engaged in the activity.  Schedule it if you have to, but make the time and play with your kids!

15). You took the time to be intentional about being together.

We ate dinner together ALMOST every night.  We didn’t care if we were eating grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, we were eating it together.  The TV was NOT allowed to be on during mealtime because we were TALKING as a family.  Sometimes you can’t eat together as a family, but you can spend this time together somewhere else- so find that time and spend it together.

16).  You took an interest in THEIR interests

I  can remember when I was in high school and on the homecoming court, my mom gave me a card BEFORE the ceremony that said: “You will always be a queen in our eyes.”  It has been almost 15 years and I can still see her handwriting on that card.   She and my Dad have always been our biggest fans.  I pray that I continue this with our own children.

17).  You had FAITH IN THEM. (when they lost it in themselves)

When our son started reading, he really dreaded sitting down to read with me (I was a teacher, and I made him read like I made my students read). You should have seen his face when he realized that I had faith in him even when he didn’t have it in himself.

18).  You didn’t care if they saw you acting SILLY!

Do something that they love and do it because they love it!  Take their stuffed animal to work with you, teach them one of your favorite childhood games,  or have a dance party!   My kids love to laugh at (or with) me when I try one of the cool new dances they teach me.

19).  You supported their teacher.

Your child needs to know that you supported their teacher.  This teaches them to respect authority because you did!

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