Our children are little for such a short time. So as parents, we of course want to make this period as special and magical for them as we can. A great childhood paves the way for a bright and successful future, and enables our kids to look back on their past with the fondest of memories. There’s a lot of pressure put on us as parents to spend lots of money to achieve this, and if your finances are tight (which let’s face it, most of us are experiencing at the moment) this can be a worry. But don’t panic, there’s so much you can do on a budget too. Read on for ideas for how to make the first years of your children’s lives more magical.
Celebrate all the occasions
One way to make childhood magical is to celebrate all of the occasions during the year that come up. Take Mother’s and Father’s Day for example, Valentine’s Day, bonfire night, Halloween, and of course Christmas and birthdays. You could make an occasion of ‘back to school’, or celebrate the changing seasons as they happen. Marking these events can really build memories and create special moments in the year for you to all look back on. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive at all, just anything you can do to help the day to stand out will work. This could mean going to a cheap local fireworks display on bonfire night, all bundling up together and holding hands while you watch the fireworks. It could mean making paper chains and homemade cards on Valentine’s Day, or enjoying a special dinner together on Mother’s day. It could mean doing some Autumn themed baking or crafts when the season changes. Go on a nature trail and collect colourful leaves, pine cones, feathers and other interesting items, and use these to make crafts or stick onto paper together. Many of these occasions are heavily commercialised, and do try to promote spending money and buying material things, but that doesn’t need to be the case. Simply use them as prompts for new activities and ways to spend time together, and you’ll create lots of special magical moments for your children.
Create a sense of atmosphere
Smell and taste is heavily linked to memories, so if you want to create that magical nostalgic feeling when your children look back on their childhood then this is two ways to go about it. Perhaps you could have a special recipe that you make together on the occasions above. It could be as simple as enjoying a Sunday roast together every Sunday, or blueberry pancakes every Saturday. For scents, you could use scents in your home that will later invoke a strong sense of nostalgia when your kids smell them as adults. You can use essential oils in wax burners and add them to spray bottles to freshen up fabrics and other areas in your home for a safe and effective way to add fragrance without lots of chemicals. Create a sense of atmosphere to turn a simple, everyday activity such as watching a movie into something more special. Dim the lights, get out the blankets, prepare some special snacks and label it as ‘movie night’ to get them excited.
Travel can be a fantastic bonding experience for all the family, it’s fun and exciting and definitely a way to create childhood memories. One easy option is to look at magical hotel experiences somewhere like Disney. This of course is known as the most magical place in the world so all you need to do is turn up and you know you’ll have a fantastic time. However, if spectacular holidays are out of your budget then don’t fret- there’s plenty you can do without much money. Book a coach trip and travel to a new place, book a cheap hotel and explore the area. You could go on a traditional British holiday, go camping, on a road trip or even to go and visit family and friends who live elsewhere. Anywhere that’s outside the usual places you go will be fun, and again it really is about the time spent together.
Imagination can take you anywhere, and helping your children to build this skill is a great way to add magic to childhood. You can do this by reading stories together, or making them up. You could do fun visualisation techniques, they have meditations for children on sites like Yourtube which can help with this. It can also help with relaxation and mental health too. Use your imagination to build fairy gardens outdoors and talk about the fairies that will visit and what they look like. You might like to talk about Father Christmas and his elves during the festive period, things like Elf on the Shelf can be great fun, create more magic around Christmas and encourage you all to use your imagination.
All of the above activities have one thing in common- they’re about spending time together. Many parents worry about this when they work long hours and don’t get as many hours in the day with their kids as they’d like, but there’s no need to fret. Aim for quality time, if you plan some simple activities in advance and purchase any bits and pieces you need it’s easy to put ideas into motion. And remember, not every day needs to be magical! In fact, a lot of the time it won’t be. We have jobs to attend and chores to do, we have the mundane stuff like doctors and dentist visits, boring errands to run and generally less exciting things that keep our lives ticking over. Instead of putting pressure on yourself, use the advice above to create those special moments and dot them throughout the year. These will be the times you will remember when you look back.
What sorts of things do you do when you’re trying to create special memories for your kids? How do you keep the magic alive in childhood?