There’s a sing song timer on our new stove. Every time the music plays, our little one year old throws his arms up in the air (his version of dancing). It’s so cute.
Last weekend, my husband decided to pick up dinner for him and I. We were cleaning up before the kids’ bedtime when I heard our toddler say, “Bracelet, Mama.” I turned around to find him with a cold onion ring dangling on his wrist. Perhaps it’s a good thing he doesn’t realize what it is?
We all have great little stories about our childhood that have been passed on by family or friends. This is the reason why I love writing to my kids.
They each have notebooks filled with stories of silly things they’ve done and memories I want to share with them. After I wrote, “Why I Write to My Boys,” I heard from other parents. They wanted to start writing to their kids. So for those of you out there who want to give your kids great stories to tell about their childhood, here are a few quick tips that will help you get pen to paper by next week!
Buy a notebook for each of your children. Choose something with a great design or colour – not an old school, thin Hilroy notebook that will remind you of third grade. You’re creating something special here!
I like going to Chapters to find my notebooks. They have a range of colours, textures, and prints. Choose something where you won’t feel overwhelmed by the number of pages or the size of the page.
Gather your Inspiration
For one week, make note of funny or memorable things that have happened with your kids during the week (usually it’s something I look forward to telling my husband at the end of the day). You can make a mental note or jot them down somewhere. For me, I like to write down a few things in my phone so I don’t forget. By the end of the week, I have an abbreviated list of ideas in my Notes app.
To help gather ideas, here are a few prompts…
- Was there something funny that your kid did / said?
- Was there something you did together that you enjoyed?
- Did they have a first this week? (First time saying a certain word? Doing/accomplishing something new?)
- Was there something they did that gave you a weepy mommy/daddy moment?
Get it Down on Paper
By the end of the week, grab your notebook(s) and get out of the house. Go to your favourite coffee shop or a place where you enjoy spending time alone. Get a coffee or tea, and enjoy! Pull out your notes to help get started or maybe you’d prefer to just free write. Both work.
I like to date my entries and include the time I’m writing. It may sound weird, but then my kids can see that Mom snuck out of the house at 6 a.m. to a coffee shop near the house to write to them while they were still sleeping or that it was 11 a.m. and they were at the park with Daddy while Mom wrote down some stories for them. To me, it gives another little snapshot of our life – another story to share. It’s completely up to you.
Set Some Goals
When writing to your kids, don’t feel like you need to document every great moment or you’re a bad parent. You should enjoy the process. Each time you write, you’ve given them something they didn’t have before. Keep it casual and don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself – but just enough that you’ll actually write to them regularly.
I’d suggest that you decide how often you’d like to write. Maybe once a month is do-able for you or you’d like to write every two weeks. Either way, it gives you something to work towards. Otherwise, we’ll keep saying that we’ll do it and we won’t.
Capture the Good Stuff
The main thing is to write when you have great things to share – when there’s something you don’t want to forget or something that was so funny they have to know the story when they’re older. If we just write for the sake of writing, our kids will get notebooks filled with boring retells of their day-to-day.
We want to give them great stories to laugh about, to get a little emotional from, and to share with others. We want to give them great stories to tell.