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How Memories of My Childhood Influence My Parenting

Childhood Memories

The older I get and the busier I get, my memory seems to get worse.  And since 46 is not that old (at least not to me), I’m a bit concerned at how forgetful I have become.  If I don’t write it down, it is gone from my memory rather quickly.  I drive my kids crazy for the amount of times I ask the same question – what time am I picking you up?  what day is practice? who’s coming over?  where is the salad dressing? (which turns out was in my hand).  Haha.  My long term memory is also fading but certain events throughout my life seem to be solid from my childhood. I realized this morning that there is a common theme to my childhood memories and how that theme influences my parenting.

So many of my childhood memories are of fun, outdoor activities.  Whether they took place at school, in the neighborhood or with family, I remember many good times of outdoor adventures, many unsupervised.  I remember sledding outside during gym class, playing keep away at recess, digging in the snow for hours, swimming in a neighbor’s pool, body surfing at the ocean, canoeing, camping, fishing, hiking and just plain walking to school.  What I do not remember is practicing reading, math flash cards or writing assignments.  I know I obviously did those things since I am able to read, write and do math today but I just do not remember the routine school work.

So what, you ask?  Who cares?  I do actually because I realize how much it influences my parenting.  It is very important to me that our children create those same memories.  We work very hard to squeeze in time for our children to camp, to have friends over to play outdoor games and to go on outdoor adventures.  It is definitely when our family is the happiest!  There is just something about being outdoors that lifts everyone’s spirits.

Is it the same as when I was a child?  Absolutely not, although I wish it was.   Here are my wishes:

  1. I wish my children could go run around the neighborhood to go sledding or start a game of kickball.  Problem is, no one is outside.
  2. I wish my children could walk to school everyday.  Problem is, the kids have to carry so many textbooks back and forth to school.
  3. I wish my children could pick teams and play keep away at school.  Problem is, recess is either non-existent, too short or too many rules.

How can we as parents change this for our children?  Make time to enjoy the outdoors with your children.  Put away your cell phones.  Turn off the computer and the television.  Go to the sledding hill or the park. Encourage your children to walk to school if you can.  Advocate for recess at your school.  The memories will last a lifetime!

Memory Challenge

Challenge your child to a game of Memory Challenge for family fun.  My children would beat me at this game for sure!  There are 2 versions of the game. The easier version consists of 20 pages with 12 objects on each page. Memorize the objects, cover them up and write what you can remember. The difficult version includes one recording sheets and 5 memory boards with 100+ objects on each page to try and remember. Perfect for a family game night or for solo play.  Download it, print and start playing.