I was sitting with a group of friends recently when the topic of favorite childhood memories came up.

Since most of my friends have kids of their own now, the things we remember take on a new significance.

As we shared favorite childhood stories, a few common themes started to emerge.

First, it wasn’t the big fancy stuff that gave us the warm fuzzies, although yes…that first trip to Disneyland was certainly memorable. It was the things we did that made us feel more connected to each other that really stuck with us.

 

“To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today.” – Barbara Johnson

 

Those little moments that made us seem like more of a FAMILY; when we felt special, appreciated, and loved.  

We realized that none of the things we were talking about required a lot of money. What made these childhood memories stand out was that they required time, presence and energy on the part of our parents.

And these are the same things your kids will carry with them into adulthood. The childhood memories they’ll treasure, and someday share with their friends.

Here’s the 9 best childhood memories we had with our parents. Memories you can make today with your own kids!

These are the little things they will never forget.

 

Childhood Memories They’ll Always Remember

 

1. Bedtime Stories

There is something so special and magical that happens when a parent reads to a child in those snuggly last moments of the day before sleep takes over.

Related: Our Picks For Children’s Books

This is prime family bonding time! No one is going to remember the fight you had at dinner about eating peas, but your kids will always remember when you read them Dr. Seuss, or Where the Wild Things Are, or Alice In Wonderland.

 

2. Celebrations

I truly appreciate that my parents celebrated well. And by “well” I don’t mean spent a lot of money (because frankly we didn’t have a lot to spend) I mean they found ways to mark occasions and make them special.

Whether it was a secret present hidden at the bottom of our lunchbox every year on our birthday, or the candy hearts in our backpacks on Valentine’s Day, or the outdoor camp-outs on the summer solstice…My family always found a way to make certain days fun and memorable.

These are some of my favorite childhood memories that always bring a nostalgic smile to my face when I think about them. 

 

3. Being There

There is nothing quite as memorable as having parents that show-up and attend the various dance recitals, concerts, sporting events etc. that their kids are involved in.

Yes, work can make it hard to show up to everything over the years, but trust us…if you can manage to be there for the things you KNOW are important to your child, it will mean the world to them.

Related: Build Confidence! 55 Positive Things To Say To Your Child

Let’s face it, my dad wasn’t exactly a ballet connoisseur…but he still showed up to all my performances because he knew how hard I practiced to be on that stage. Just knowing he was out there in the audience really meant something to me. In fact, it still does.

You don’t have to be an “expert” in whatever your kid is into, just be PRESENT. That’s what they’ll always remember.

 

4. Family Traditions

Hands downs some of the sweetest family memories I have are of the family traditions we did again and again; like driving to a certain neighborhood every year to look at Christmas lights, or making homemade ice cream before setting off fireworks on the 4th of July.

Related: Why Family Traditions Matter And How To Create Your Own

We also set aside one Sunday a month to be “family day” where we all piled in the car and did something together; like go on a picnic, visit a museum, or see a movie.

You’d think kids would scoff at such things… but my brother and I looked forward to family day like no other, and your kids will too. These are some of the best childhood memories we have.

 

5. Quirky Family Sayings

Every family has them. Those weird little expressions or code words that only your crew understands.

Every summer when my brother and I would start wearing tank tops and shorts my mom called these our “speeze suits” because we exposed more skin that she could affectionately squeeze. LOL.

To this day I still think “speeze suit” when I dig out a pair of shorts to wear on summer vacation.

Whatever quirky little sayings you’ve got going on in your family EMBRACE them. It’s like a secret language that bonds you together.

This is the stuff your kids will pass on to their own children someday.

 

6. Family Dinners

Looking back, one of the things my friends and I all noted as being especially good memories were family dinners.

Back then it may have just been part of the normal routine to sit at the table together and eat, no television or other distractions.

Related: Make Family Dinners Fun! 30 Conversation Starters For Kids

But now I can see that this time was set aside intentionally, as a way for my parents to check in and see how our day went and get a window into our lives. Many special conversations happened at that table!

Let’s give the next generation the gift of growing up saying, “in my family we ate together!”

childhood memories
Getty Images

 

7. Showing Affection

If you look back on your own childhood with warm feelings of love and happiness, I’m pretty sure it was filled with moments of affection from your parents.

Everyone needs a hug now and then, or a cuddle, or a supportive arm around their shoulder. Hugs are a way to express so many emotions; love, joy, encouragement, reassurance, and protection.

Don’t skimp on the cuddles! Let one of their happiest childhood memories be that mom and dad always knew when I needed a hug.

 

8. Listening To Them

Do you ever find yourself saying “just a minute”or “not now, I’m busy”? Of course you do, we all do.

But say this often enough, and your kids will start to think they aren’t’ a priority. Many times kids interrupt or vy for our attention because they want us to share in a moment that is special and important to them.

One thing your child will always remember is if you take the time to stop and listen to what they have to say. It’s one of those childhood memories that really sticks with you.

 

9. Play Time

Kids are naturally playful. Creating a family dynamic where fun and play are encouraged is the stuff happy childhoods are made of.

So get out and play already! Build a fort, have a tea party, run through the sprinklers…these are the special moments kids will remember into adulthood.

Related: Strengthen You Bond With These 15 Toddler Activities

 

The best childhood memories don’t require money… what makes them valuable is the time and attention you spend focused on your family.

Trust us, the things your kids will always remember are the special moments you spent together. So gather up your crew and start making some beautiful memories together!

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