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Think back to memories of your childhood: What kind of habits do you remember about the way your parents spent time with you?
Now imagine what kind of memories your own kids will have of their current childhood. Will it be of you constantly checking email or text messages on their phone? Or will it be of surprises, like the one TODAY's Savannah Guthrie has of her father deciding to go fly a kite with her?
The faith-based website Patheos wants to help parents focus on what really matters to kids. In a post they published earlier this year, but gaining traction recently, they suggested five things kids will remember about their parents. Here is their list:
1. The times you made them feel safe — or unsafe
Kids will remember those moments you chased the monsters from under their bed, but they’ll also remember the times when your temper flared into the monster they feared. Getting angry is a part of life, but make sure it doesn’t prevent your kids from feeling secure.
2. The times you gave them your undivided attention
What memory will be etched forever into the minds and hearts of your kids? Probably that time you stopped what you were doing to have a tea party, or go throw a ball or jump on the trampoline.
3. The way you interacted with your spouse
Strive to have the kind of marriage that makes your children excited to get married someday. Show them what it means to be in a committed, loving relationship.
4. Your words of affirmation and your words of criticism
A child’s heart is like wet cement: Impressions made early in life harden over time. A parent's role is to correct and discipline, but make sure corrections are full of love, encouragement and positive reinforcement.
5. Your family traditions
Kids love spontaneity, but they also need predictability. They’ll remember with fondness the weekly family movie or game night, or the annual family getaway. Be intentional about creating traditions that they’ll want to pass onto their own children someday.