Creating memories doesn’t take money, just time

I’m forever amazed at how despite the money we spend in an effort to create lasting memories for our children, it’s the actual interactions they have with us, spontaneous and free of charge, that seem to impact them the most.

I’m struck, for example, that like the summers before I spent a ton of money on vacations this past summer but at the end of the day, it wasn’t the frills of a fancy hotel that D.J. remembers, it’s skipping rocks with me off the hotel’s shoreline and going swimming. Although the thrill rides and exhibits we visited were certainly worthwhile, there isn’t any combination of rides put together that excites him as much as the two of us tobogganing down a hill together or any exhibit that can compete with everything he takes out of hiking in the woods with me and our family dog.

Whether we’re fishing, riding bikes, headed out to the cider mill or pitching a tent in the backyard, these simple activities and interactions are the ones that fill our children with lifelong memories. In addition, they provide our kids a sense of confidence that they’re loved and worth our time and effort.

There’s also the opportunity we have to teach our children academically. Just about every piece of research being done in this area has concluded that children do better academically when both parents participate in their education. Helping with homework, reading to and with our children, visiting the library together and doing math problems all equate to a favorable outcome. In an otherwise stressful and challenging economy, it’s also noteworthy to mention that all of these activities are anywhere from inexpensive to free.

What are some of the simpler ways you’ve created memories for your children?