Close your eyes, take a deep breath and try to recall your happy childhood memories. What are your unforgettable memories? Now let’s see if we share similar memories.
Malaysia is a melting pot of many races and hence there are numerous celebrations. Every festive celebration is an occasion for food galore and glorious fun. Surely, a picture of friends and family gathered together comes to mind, all connected through a sense of comradery. Getting red or green packets filled with money was surely the highlight of the celebrations for most children in Malaysia. Not to mention, the amazing display of fireworks lighting up the night sky. Christmas is fondly remembered because of the joy of unwrapping presents placed by Santa Claus under the Christmas tree.
Apart from these festivals, we should celebrate the victories that matter to our children - from baby’s first steps to his/her first day at school, and definitely graduation! All of these are once in a lifetime precious moments.
It is important to celebrate and perhaps reward every academic success, however small each may be.
However, every child has different levels of success in life. Some are academically inclined while others excel in sports. Be it in the academic arena, sports or other areas, accomplishments all need to be celebrated so that they become memorable milestones.
Most Malaysians are foodies. We all grew up with the concept of food being at the heart of family gatherings. Festive celebrations are the best times to gather the family and have a scrumptious meal together.
Busy schedules and work commitments are making it harder for parents to share a meal with their children. In this digital age, getting everyone to speak to each other at the dinner table is just as challenging! Why? This is because both young and old are busy with electronic gadgets and thus the divide widens.
Sharing meals is an excellent method to demonstrate love and care for the family. Whether you’re having a conversation over nasi lemak, noodles or fried chicken, it’s a great way to create beautiful memories with your children.
Children look forward to their birthdays. Or rather, they look forward to birthday presents and delicious cake! Lucky ones sometimes get birthday parties with the opportunity to play in inflatable playhouses.
Whether they are jumping on a trampoline or playing with their new toys, these are instances that are etched in their memories.
Children are naturally playful. Who does not like to have fun, be it, children or adults? Playing together with your children and their favourite toys can be the best way to communicate love and affection to your children.
Not only is playtime fun for children; it also fosters closer bonds in your relationship with your child. These memories will live on well into adulthood.
Travel gives children real-world learning experiences outside the classroom (or Google). For a child, it’s a wonderful feeling to go on an adventure, whether it is to the beach, amusement park or simply the zoo!
Every child will remember with great warmth all those traditions that you lay down, whether it is prioritising family dinners, playing family board games in the evenings, or weekly visits to spend time with their grandparents.
Make an effort to come up with great family activities and maintain such rituals. Perhaps, in the future, your children will want to share and teach these traditions to their own families.
How You Behave
Children are always observing how you love yourself and demonstrate love to others around you. They will model their own self-acceptance and confidence based on the example set for them. If you are kind to strangers and animals, they will learn to be empathetic too.
How you react under pressure is another thing to look out for. We have all been in stressful situations, from getting stuck in traffic jams, to frantically chasing a deadline, or experiencing pain or trauma. While we are wrapped up in unfortunate circumstances, it’s easy to forget that we are being observed by our children. How they act under pressure will often be a direct reflection of how you react under pressure.
How You Love Them
This is the most important one. Your children may not remember every hug or every “I love you”, but they will always remember the times you made them feel safe, warm, cared and loved.
Children measure love primarily through the attention given to them. These moments are imprinted on their minds - when you left your work to have ice cream together, having silly chit-chats and laughing uncontrollably or just simply reading a book before bedtime. When you spend time with your children and provide uninterrupted attention to them, they will always cherish these moments.
Children will also remember your words of approval and critical comments. Their identity and self-esteem are largely based on the words that you use towards them. Always include positive reinforcement when you speak to them and let your words be full of love and support.
Childhood memories shape our lives and make us who we are. The effort that has to be put into creating memories for your children may sometimes be great, but it usually pays off and when they finally thank you, it would have all been worth your while.
What sort of memories are you creating? Psst,… now’s the moment to give your mom, dad or child a hug or a quick call to say “I love you.”