Once again school holidays have come and gone, and the lockdowns during this period have caused a disruption to our “normal” lives… Plans for holidays and even day trip adventures have been put “on hold”. Whilst I no longer have young children, I remember myself the importance of those weekend and holiday adventures and the rituals or traditions that become a firm memory of our childhoods.
For me, as a child one of my most positive memories in the school holidays was a day trip to the cinema with my Mum and Sister. I had a Great-Aunt who lived close by the movie theatre, and we would visit her for morning tea before going to see the latest movie release for the school holidays. This was something we would do each school holidays, and whilst I can’t remember what movies we saw, I clearly remember the lavish morning tea that my Aunty Babs would prepare for our visit. Delicious homemade cakes, ribbon sandwiches, and soft drinks served in fancy teacups with saucers. This is something that my sister and I (both well into our forties) recall with such happy memories.
“Traditions give us a shared identity. They strengthen our bond as a family unit. They create structure, stability, a sense of familiarity, and safety, all things that are important for children, particularly young children. Traditions help us to nourish one another.” – https://www.creativechild.com/articles/view/the-benefits-of-family-traditions
Many family traditions include holidays away or day trips together. How can we ensure that we still continue with family traditions when the current circumstance means that travel and outings can’t always happen?
Often parents (particularly those with young children) place so much importance on the big, grand gestures they forget the importance of the incidentals that occur with daily life.
My daughter who is now sixteen looks fondly back at memories of when she was little, and I would make what we called “party dinner”. This tradition occurred in our household about once a week. It involved me making a very simple meal of bite-sized pieces of cold meat, cheese, and small vegetables like cherry tomatoes, cucumber served with a healthy dip and served on a platter. We would sit on the couch together and eat watching TV. What I have since disclosed to her that “party dinner” occurred when I was exhausted, and as a single Mum couldn’t be bothered cooking dinner. I called it “party dinner” to convince my two-year-old that it was something special, and the name stuck. It was funny discussing this recently with her, as this simple act of self-care on my part was one of her fondest childhood memories!!!
Another fond memory for us is trips to the beach in Summer. Whilst the swimming and snow cones are highlights, we also enjoyed playing the card game Uno whilst sitting in the shade of a Pandanus Palm. This is another example of how the simple things in life can also be the most memorable and enjoyable. Whenever we get the Uno cards out to play, even if it’s on a cold Winter’s night at home, those happy memories flood back and time just seems to stand still.
Now that my daughter can give me a clear memory and her own perspective on her childhood, I have learned that the little things are usually the most special. Finding time to connect and be present in the moment is what your children will remember.
– Miss Karen