Photo by sean dreilinger

This summer has zipped right by. The kids have been able to explore areas of interest, play with friends and relax with family. We have been busy, but with enough breaks to create a nice balance. This summer I had the opportunity to have special one-on-one weeks with each child while the other was in camp. I had time to dote on each child and cater to their individual interests which diverge quite a bit. One child is all about being outside and active. We biked, swam in the lake, took an excursion to a regional park to walk through waterfalls and made each day focused on being physical and active. My other child chose indoor and more domestically oriented pursuits. We shopped for school stuff, painted pottery, got mini-pedicures, baked bread, picked flowers and went on walks around the neighborhood. One child embraces the big world while the other finds peace and contentment being closer to home. I enjoyed all of my experiences this summer exploring their worlds and feel like I have gained new insight into and connection with my children.

The book 3 Steps to a Strong Family by Linda and Richard Eyre goes one step deeper into one-on-one outings with their children. In the chapter about creating family traditions they explain that their family has scheduled monthly “mommy dates” and “daddy dates” with each child. It is within these outings that real listening and valuable learning take place. Each child keeps a “mommy or daddy date book” which they record what was done and a few facts about the time together. Then each outing memory is preserved by adhering some object from the date into their books. These objects, as simple as a straw, can help bring back the memory, but what lasts the longest is the emotional connection that is created during this special time together.

The Eyres’s believe that family traditions are a key ingredient to strong families. I realized that our family could use some fun traditions to celebrate our lives together. We have our family holiday traditions and a birthday morning tradition that seems to be waning. We started collecting memories of things that happen during the year in a jar to read on New Years Eve.

I’d love to hear what kind of traditions are unique to your family. Please post a comment!

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