How to Make Routines into Memories

Reality check: We only have 216 months with our kids before they turn 18. Here’s how to make crazy days into moments your family remembers.

It’s the classic mom dilemma. We’ve been DYING for our kids to go back to school, but we miss them SO MUCH when they’re gone. The peace is lovely, though, right? When the kids are away, the toys stay in their baskets. The kitchen table is amazingly smear-free. We actually have time to finish a cup of coffee and think. THINK! Yes, overall, going back to school is a big relief.

But …
Even on the most planned-out days, with the busiest schedules and the most me time, remember this: we only have 216 months with our children before they turn 18. A whopping 60 have already passed by the age of 5.

So, yes, there will come a day when you can drink your coffee hot, but there won’t be quite the same energy around the breakfast table. And it’s coming up sooner than you think – just ask any empty nester.

Important reminder!
That’s why I’m here to remind you to make making memories a part of your daily routine. It’s actually easier done than said. Yes, easier DONE than SAID. It’s just a matter of loosening up a bit, and it only takes a few extra seconds of your day.

We can’t avoid the laundry, the dinner dishes and the car commutes. But we can make the moments our own by doing that little special something that transforms a generic routine into totally unique family rituals.

So here’s the secret
Opportunities to transform an ordinary routine into a meaningful ritual are all around you, all day long. Don’t just cook together with your kids ­– sing into wooden spoons as you stir the pot. Don’t just drive the car – lead the conversation and catch up. Don’t just check off your grocery list as you shop – shove them off on a cart ride down the aisle.

No, it’s not always the most efficient use of time to walk more slowly, to sing as you go, or to squeeze in one extra book before bedtime. But those are the talks, the walks, the songs and the stories that your family will never forget.

All you have to do is think back to your own childhood to know it’s true. I don’t vividly remember folding laundry with my mom, but I can sing every word of the songs she sang while we did it. I may have grumbled about helping her bake cookies, but I always got to lick the beater. And together, we solved my 8th-grade catastrophes on the way to school.

How to get started goofing off more
Most of the time, you can just sit back and let the magic happen. Forget the schedule for a minute, turn your frown upside down and shake off the stress that’s on your shoulders. Right away, you’ll notice how your kids (and you) start being more spontaneous. Next time they start goofing around, just jump in! Embrace it! Enjoy it! Bask in the impromptu giggle parties knowing that one day, those moments will be some of your family's most precious memories.

Need some inspiration? Here a few ideas. Any one of these can become that unforgettable thing you always did together. And someday, when your 216 months are up, these may be the little things your kids do with their own.

  1. When your kids start acting silly, follow suit!
  2. Make getting ready in the morning a race.
  3. Always clear the table together. Who knows what your kid will confide in you over a sink full of suds. And with Dawn and Cascade, the washing part is easy.
  4. Instead of stressing, play rock-paper-scissors in the car pool line.
  5. Make grocery trips into mom/kid dates – all it takes is a change in attitude!
  6. Make it a tradition to get the same special treat after every practice.
  7. Water the garden together and run in the sprinkler.
  8. Turn any chore into a song.
  9. Jump on the bed before lights out.


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