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Making Memories for Your Children

Spending time with your family creates a heritage for their future reflection

It is so easy these days to connect with others without being in their presence. Parents and children alike can fall into the trap of letting most or all of their friend and family interactions occur through electronic means — be it cell phones, over the Internet or text messaging.

But, certain things need to be shared in person: whether it be telling your grandchildren what your life was like, planning a shared family excursion or playing a board game. Budget your time in order to squeeze these types of activities into your hectic life. You'll never regret it. And, it will give a gift to your child that far surpasses the worth of material presents: a living heritage.

Children want to know what your life was like and hear particular family stories that add up to a mutual history. They also are curious what their lives were like as babies and toddlers before they can remember. Saving mementos and photos for them can reinforce the shared stories even if they were too young to actually recall them.

When it comes to giving material gifts to them, try to give gifts with meaning that are symbols of your relationship with them; perhaps a book you shared with them or a piece of art you know they admire.

What if you are separated by distance from your children or grandchildren? With today's cell phone and computer applications, you can put together groups of digital photos and videos in slideshow presentations to share with family far away. You can even add narration to further explain the events depicted. With Skype and FaceTime you can interact instantly through live video over the miles. However, shared time in person is still invaluable and creates a bond that electronic means just can't replace.

It's never too late to create new family traditions with your children and grandchildren. Weekend day trips, cooking together and regularly shared movies and meals will be experiences they'll cherish later in life.

So, share yourself and your time with your children, and you'll be making positive memories that will help form who they are as adults.

Written by Gio, a father of four (three boys and one girl, all over 21) and a grandfather of one (a 3-year-old granddaughter), who “remembers” what his parents' childhoods were like, because they shared the memory with him.

February 2012