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Dubois Elementary School

120 South Lincoln Ave
Springfield, IL 62704


March 12, 2011

Simple Secrets That Create Happy Family Memories
©Dr. Michele Borba

Did you know that research has found that doing simple rituals enhances our feelings of togetherness and family belonging by almost 20 percent? What's more, those home traditions and customs also increase our kids' social skills and development. Here are nine simple, no-cost secrets moms are using to create happy memories. What are you doing to preserve memories of your times together?

1. Nighttime rituals: Read a nighttime story; remind each other of the best part of the day; give hugs and kiss goodnight; with older kids reconvene in the kitchen for a nighttime snack around 9:30. Then everyone gets his goodnight send-off: a kiss, a backrub, and affirm their love for one another and it's off to bed (or in some cases, back to homework).

2. Special greetings and ways to say "I love you": Rub noses for an "Eskimo kiss"; create your own unique family funny hugs.

3. Celebration of successes: Hang a flag on the front door when something special has happened to a family member; use a "fancy" plate at the table when a family member has done something to deserve recognition.

4. Birthday memories: Each family member chooses his or her favorite birthday dinner menu, cake, outing, and Some families even hang the family member's shirt on a flagpole or broomstick stuck in the front lawn to let the world (or at least the neighborhood) know it's that person's special day.

5. Musical memories: Choose special songs to be piped through the household for family events; for a birthday, have your whole family wake-up to the Beatles singing, "Today is your birthday…gonna have a good time," Bruce Springsteen's can remind your family it's the Fourth of July by singing "Born in the USA".

6. Sports and outdoors: Go fishing on Father's Day; be diehard Bluejay fans together; go berry-picking every spring; have relay races and egg tosses at family picnics.

7. Volunteering and service projects: Bake an extra turkey for Mrs. Jones at Thanksgiving; serve Christmas Eve dinner at the homeless shelter or help out at another, less "popular" time of year. Make a commitment to help a favorite charity as a family once a week or month.

8. Enjoy each other's company. Spread a rug or towel on your living room floor and gather the troops, serve simple sandwiches, finger food, and boxed drinks, put up some upbeat music and have an indoor picnic. Who says you have to go anywhere to have a good time together?

9. Family Game Night: Dust off the Chutes and Ladders, Yahtzee, Monopoly, Candyland, or that old deck of cards. Older kids might like Trouble, Uno, Kerplunk, Risk, or poker. Some families hold Family Game Night once a week for thirty minutes to an hour. Have an assortment and let a different family member choose what you play each time.

Provided by: Carlis Thomas,
Dubois Parent Educator