Posts Tagged ‘ family memories ’

Celebrate Presidents Day as a Bonus Day with Your Kids

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Silhouette of family on a beachEditor’s Note: In an ongoing series, Dr. Harley A. Rotbart, a Parents advisor, will be guest blogging once a month with advice, tips, and personal stories on how parents can “savor the moment” and maximize the time they spend with kids. Read more posts by Harley Rotbart on Goodyblog and on Parents Perspective.

On February 17, 2014, the country celebrates Presidents Day, which coincides with George Washington’s birthday. Known as the “father of our country,” Washington is said to have been a devoted stepfather to the two children of his wife, Martha. I cannot tell a lie: I really don’t know if it was the Washington family routine to take a day off (from the day-to-day demands of the Revolution and of the Presidency) for his birthday to spend quality family time. But for many parents and kids, Presidents Day means a three-day weekend, so if you’re able to take the day off with your family, I encourage you to do so.

Three-day weekends are unique parenting opportunities. Unlike the usual overbooked experience of a two-day weekend, filled with soccer games, playdates, and to-do lists of chores, a three-day weekend is bonus time for the family, especially if your kids are home from school and less programmed than usual. If you’re lucky enough to have Monday off, think twice about scheduling golf or tennis with your adult buddies and shipping your kids off to friends’ houses. If there are chores around the house, do them with your kids. If you can’t resist the Presidents Day Sale at the furniture store or car dealership, take your kids along with you and go for ice cream afterwards. If your plan is to sleep in for an extra two hours while the kids are watching TV, change your plan – sleep in an extra hour (you’ve earned it!), but spend the second hour with the kids not watching TV.

There are 940 weekends between your little girl’s birth and the day she leaves for college. Sounds like a lot, right? But if she’s 5 years old, you’ve already used up 260 of those weekends. And only about 100 of them are three-day weekends so, by the time she turns 5, you’ve already used up 25 of those! If you’re like most parents who think their kids are growing up too fast, you probably already wish you could have some of those weekends back. Even though you can’t, now is the time to make sure you don’t have any regrets about how you spend the remaining weekends of your kids’ childhoods. And three-day weekends are the perfect place to start.

Get out your calendars and mark down these official federal holidays (which include a few three-day weekends) for the rest of 2014: Memorial Day (Monday, May 26); July 4 (a Friday this year); Labor Day (Monday, September 1); Columbus Day (Monday, October 13); Veteran’s Day (Tuesday, November 11); Thanksgiving (Thursday, November 27); and Christmas (Tuesday, December 25). If your job doesn’t let you take off for all these special days, you can still spend the time you have wisely.

This February 17, take a little time to talk with your kids about George Washington and other great presidents in U.S. history. Give your kids a shiny quarter or a crisp dollar bill and point out George’s image. Or try throwing a rock or a penny all the way across a river (who can afford to throw away a sliver dollar today?).

On Presidents Day, honor the father of our country, and your kids, by doing something really fun that the whole family will remember until Memorial Day—the next three-day weekend!

Dr. Harley A. Rotbart

Dr. Harley A. Rotbart is Professor and Vice Chairman Emeritus of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado. He is the author of three books for parents and families, including the recent No Regrets Parenting, a Parents advisor, and a contributor to The New York Times Motherlode blog. Visit his blog at noregretsparenting.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter (@NoRegretsParent).

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Parenting Style: Positive Parenting
Parenting Style: Positive Parenting
Parenting Style: Positive Parenting

Image: Silhouette of family on a beach at dusk via Shutterstock

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Pitch and Run: Making Lifelong Backyard Memories

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

White baseball on grassEditor’s Note: In a post for an ongoing series, Dr. Harley A. Rotbart, a Parents advisor, will be guest blogging once a month. He will be offering different advice, tips, and personal stories on how parents can “savor the moment” and maximize the time they spend with kids. Read more posts by Harley Rotbart on Goodyblog and on Parents Perspective.

For sports fans, October means more than beautiful fall colors and earnest trick-or-treaters. October is World Series time, and for our family, the end of each baseball season brings a special nostalgia.

When our kids were young, our yard was the field of dreams. Although now the grass is almost fully grown in where the base paths used to be, the kids once wore them so raw the diamond shape of the infield was the first thing people noticed when they visited. “Pitch and Run,” the kids used to call it, their backyard version of the great American pastime. The bases themselves were well-defined bald spots in the lawn where the base paths ended on each corner. The fences defined the foul balls and the home runs. A tennis ball, a soft-core bat, and mitts were all we needed.

The legends that grew from our backyard diamond live in all our memories to this day. There was the all-time world record number of consecutive home runs over our east fence. And the all-time world record number of home run balls that were hit all the way over Grape Street onto the neighbor’s lawn across the street. There was the ethereal tennis ball that was hit so high and so far that it was never found – until we opened the fireplace flue the next winter. There was Mr. W, the man who angrily got out of his car after a home run ball struck it while he was driving on Grape Street. (Turns out he was an old friend of my father’s, so he quickly forgave them.) And there was the tennis ball that was hit so hard it put a spiderweb crack in the shatterproof glass of the upstairs window. Then there was the mean neighbor to the south, the one who never said a word to us except when the screaming in our yard would crescendo, who came out in the middle of a game one day, terrifying the kids, and silently tossed three tennis balls back into the yard, only to leave as quietly as he had come.

This was an entirely egalitarian ball field. Our daughter and her friends joined the game whenever Barbie and Ken needed a rest. When the girls played, our boys hit left-handed – not so much to give the girls an edge (the boys would never give anyone an edge in baseball or any other competition), but because that gave them bragging rights to the all-time world record number of consecutive left-handed home runs over the east fence. Our daughter learned well. With her brothers watching many years later, she hit the game-winning single that clinched the intramural coed softball championship in college.

When the kids are home from college and grad school now, we still “have a catch” in the backyard. We reminisce about “Pitch and Run” and all the world records that will never be broken. At least until they someday bring their own kids to Grandma and Grandpa’s backyard to wear out the grass again.

Dr. Harley A. Rotbart

Dr. Harley A. Rotbart is Professor and Vice Chairman of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado. He is the author of three books for parents and families, including the recent No Regrets Parenting, a Parents advisor, and a contributor to The New York Times Motherlode blog. Visit his blog at noregretsparenting.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter (@NoRegretsParent).

 

Image: A white used baseball on fresh green grass via Shutterstock.

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