NSLAP WELLNESS TIP: Create meaningful moments

The following contains, in part, an article excerpt from Homewood Human Solutions™, your health and wellness provider.

When you reflect on your childhood, you probably have some special memories that stand out. So often what comes to mind are the little things we did with one or both parents, or with a close family member or friend.

In this article, we look at ways to create a couple of the most precious gifts in life: cherished memories and valued family traditions. Make memories and establish traditions that everyone will cherish.

Whether you are a mom or a dad, an aunt or uncle, a grandparent or a good friend, here are some activities you can undertake with children of all ages that they will remember for a lifetime:

Tour the town. Make believe you are a tourist in your own town and visit places you’ve not seen before or go exploring with fresh eyes. Go on a walking tour, visit a historic mansion, tour a factory, take a train ride or visit your local tourist centre and ask about the possibilities.

Volunteer or be in service. Make a commitment for you and your child(ren) to help a favourite charity on a regular basis: serve dinner at a homeless shelter, help out an elderly neighbour … there are infinite ways to make a difference in the world and feel good about what you’ve accomplished.

Plant a family vegetable garden. Go online together and research how to create and maintain a garden. Even if you live in an apartment, you can use pots on your balcony or join a community garden and rent a garden plot. Involve your child(ren) as much as possible.

Explore nature. No matter what your age, walking outdoors is good for you. Many local parks as well as provincial and national parks are filled with marked trails. Pack a picnic lunch and go exploring. Keep a journal of the walks you’ve taken and be sure to write down details about each place.

Check out local sports. Watch and support local athletes. Whether it’s hockey, basketball, baseball, ultimate Frisbee, badminton or diving – at a children’s, high school or professional level – watching live sporting events can be tons of fun. Another option is to get your own group of family and friends together for some friendly competition and compete for silly prizes.

Make birthdays memorable. Let everyone know it’s someone’s birthday by hanging up a big sign. Wake up the whole family by playing a birthday song. Let the birthday person choose their favourite meal, cake or outing.

Games night. Dig out your old board games or decks of cards and have some good old-fashioned fun playing games. Let different family members choose the game each time you play.

Preserve the memories. Take lots of photos of your fun together and involve the kids in putting together a photo album or scrapbook. Or, preserve your memories electronically and create a multimedia production with video, digital photos, music and captions. Be sure to involve the kids (who may be more tech savvy than the adults).

The bottom line

Creating meaningful moments don’t need to cost much and yet they create joy and laughter and a lifetime of wonderful memories. In addition to undertaking fun and different activities as described earlier, another way to create lasting memories are family traditions and rituals. These are more than ordinary, everyday activities. Rather, they are actions or beliefs practiced at regular intervals that create positive feelings.

Traditions are considered “sacred” in that you consistently honour them. They are often handed down from generation to generation, but you can start your own as well.

Traditions are the stuff that bring families together, promote a sense of identity, and a feeling of belonging. They also bring a sense of safety and security to the family by providing a predictable and familiar experience.

Regular participation in meaningful traditions and rituals can keep family members bonded and provide memories for a lifetime.

Traditions and rituals your family may wish to try:

  • Get a yearly family portrait taken, making sure to include pets or special mementos or objects in the photo.
  • Have a parent and/or the kids make breakfast every Sunday.
  • Host an annual family reunion.
  • Read a night-time story together.
  • Whenever someone in the family gets a new job, promotion or raise, host a celebratory event to recognize their achievement.
  • At seasonal holiday time, have the family make a special ornament or decoration that is symbolic of the past year.
  • At New Year, set resolutions for the whole family.
  • Create your own special day; give it a fun name, and ensure that it is celebrated in some fun and unique way, every year on the same day.

For more information and support in creating meaningful moments, along with resources and counselling to improve your health and wellness, visit the NSLAP website at www.nslap.ca. Please note that LAP is your “company” name when you register. When you call the LAP number at 1-866-299-1299, your call will be answered any time, day or night, 365 days per year.