Susan Newman, Ph.D, is a social psychologist and author of Parenting an Only Child: The Joys and Challenges of Raising Your One and Only and a dozen other books in the family field. She blogs for Psychology Today Magazine; at http://blog...
The time and know-how to create positive memories can easily escape today's harried parents whether or not they work. No matter how little time you have left after carpooling, running errands, and/or attending your child's events, you can fill it with realistic, simple, and fun gestures and activities that strengthen family ties and fill your child's memory bank.
Creating important memories
By grabbing pockets of time, if only a few minutes with your child each day, you can build tradition and your child's strong feelings of being cared for and loved. What's second nature to some parents, never occurs to others... and we all need reminders now and again.
Here are realistic ways for over-extended parents to connect with their children quickly and effectively -- and to stay connected.
Ask caring questions each day: How was your spelling test? The book fair? The game?
Tell your child you love him a minimum of once a day.
Wear whatever "jewels" your child makes or buys for you. Display his artwork; use his clay vases and bowls.
Get excited when your child tells you about his day or latest accomplishment. Nodding your head is not enough.
Request a "kid fix" (a hefty hug and kiss) whenever you feel the need, and let your child know it makes you feel better.
If you're out for the evening, call in a goodnight kiss and promise an in-person one as soon as you return.
Sing while she plays; play while she sings or dances. Duets are very supportive, often memorable, and usually hilarious.
Use the mail to surprise your child with a comic book, a sports player's card or fancy pencil.
Ask your child what was the best and worst part of his day -- every day.
Put a note in her lunch box that says, "I love you."
Keep a chair next to your desk so your child can visit or chat.
Ask about your child's friends regularly.
Prepare the grocery list together, and ask your child for dinner suggestions.
Compliment your child and let her overhear you complimenting her to someone else -- a relative, friend or neighbor.
Do something ridiculous: Chase your child through the house or start a pillow fight.
You never know what silliness or gesture will become a "little thing long remembered" -- embedded warmly and happily in a child's mind forever. Simple acts, more than expensive gifts, have a way of becoming treasured remembrances of growing up and of you. Little things do mean a lot, especially to children.
More ways to raise happy and healthy kids
How to boost your child's self-esteem
SheKnows TV gives you great tips on how you can help to boost your child's self-esteem!