8 Things To Do with Your Children Before They Turn 8

Now that my kids are older, I find myself reflecting on the time spent raising little ones. Sometimes I look back and wonder how we survived but other times I look back and think about what a sweet special time that was. As I get older and experience parenthood more fully, it's hard not to think about the things we did right and sometimes reminisce on the things that we wish we had done more of or done differently. If you are in the trenches and you are parenting children that haven't reached double digits yet, then this post is for you. If you have older kids, take some time to read this and add your expertise in the comments. My personal reflection just may spark an idea or two that you would like to share with other young parents.

parenting, parenthood, young family, kids

8 Things To Do with Your Children Before They Turn 8

1. Take a picture of their feet

We have a framed picture with all three kids feet in the sand hanging up in our home. That picture is what sparked the idea for this post. I realized that if I were to try to recreate the picture now with the kids feet it would gross me out. There is a point that kids feet go from adorable and cute to smelly, gross and disgusting looking. No one wants a framed picture of a teenagers foot.  Trust me on this. You will look back and reflect on how sweet and small those kids were and as a bonus, the picture doesn't require a smile, brushed hair or coordinating outfits! 

2. Go to Disneyland

This may not be in every families budget, but if you can, try to make it to Disneyland. Don't go too early or your kids will beg you to go again since they don't remember it, no matter how many pictures you take! Go during that sweet spot where they believe in fairy tales and magic and are tall enough to ride most of the rides.

3. Create a family travel bucket list

parenting, parenthood, young family, kids

You only have 17 summers before your kids move out of the house. This seems like a long time but it happens in a blink. Again, ask me how I know. What if I told you that there are only 940 Saturdays between your child's birth and them leaving for college {thanks to Dr. Harley Rotbart for doing the math}. That seems like no time at all! If you are like most families, those Saturdays get filled up quickly with birthday parties, sports events and who knows what else! We created a family travel bucket list of places we wanted to go with our children before they left the house. The tricky part is fitting it all in. Sometimes it feels like you have nothing but time when you are raising little ones, but that time flies by, so be intentional with it. Your list will probably look different than our list, but before our oldest son left for college this past summer, we crossed the last of the five places off our list. 

4. Take swimming lessons

Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death worldwide. We are surrounded by a lot of water and it was important to me that our kids learn how to swim. Swimming lessons are most common for young kids and there is an age that it becomes embarrassing for a child to be in swimming lessons. As a parent, I would gladly trade embarrassment for death any day, but why not make the time when your kids are younger to invest in this important safety skill. Not only that, your kids may just find a sport that they really enjoy.

5. Go to church

Our families are busier than ever and sometimes Sunday is the only day when we feel like we can catch up and prepare for a busy week ahead. Attending church together is something that is worth making the time for. Church gives you the opportunity to strengthen your bond as a family and instill key morals and ethics into your child's life. A church family also provides you with an extended network of like-minded people that not only allow you to seek support but will also help be another set of adults nurturing and loving on the people you love the most. There has been research that has been done that shows that the trajectories of where our teens will end up in their faith is set during the childhood years. It's important for families to start building a strong moral foundation of faith early on.

6. Crawl around an indoor playground

I had older siblings and remember when I was in high school taking my niece for the morning to an indoor play park. The kind that had tunnels and tubes and slides. The one that I wish they had had when I was a kid. I was not a big kid, but at the ripe old age of 17, I was far too big to be crawling around in the tunnels and tubes with my toddler niece. My knees got scraped up and my back was killing me by the end of our morning fun. There is an age that kids hit when they just can't crawl around and play as easily as they once did so take advantage of it when the kids are younger.

7. Take family portraits

Photography has certainly changed over the years. When I was growing up, I don't think getting family pictures taken was that common. Sure we had pictures of all of us kids done at the local Sears but we never had any family portraits done. I don't splurge on a lot of things, but we have made it a point every few years to hire a good local photographer and get family portraits done. I suggest starting when your kids are younger. It will feel like a chore but you will appreciate having quality images of those you love most around your home and as a memory as they grow. Plus, if you really like the photographer's pictures, you can release any guilt you might feel about buying bad school photos. I did. Read why I don't buy school pictures.

8. Take up a hobby as a family

There is only so long that your children will willingly want to hang out with you. Sure, as they tug on your pant leg and follow you into the bathroom, it feels like that day will never come, but trust me, it won't be long until you have to beg them to hang out with you. Take your kids on a bike ride, hike with them, play a family game of soccer, try geocaching. Your children's personalities will start to shine through and you may just find a sport or hobby that your child wants to continue to peruse.

The time as a young family goes by very quickly. Make sure you make the most of those years. 

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Nicole said...

Do you have a new bucket list that you are working on before the next one heads to college? And what is your family hobby? (Yes, I read today's blog!)

rachelteodoro said...

Our family travel bucket list really was something we made so we could make sure we hit those 5 on the list before our family of 5 starting going their separate ways. There isn't a Travel Bucket List 2.0 right now, but that's not to say we have stopped traveling as a family. It's just weird to plan a family trip when you can't count on the whole family to be there if you know what I mean. As for our hobby, we took up geocaching YEARS ago and continue to enjoy it now too.

Chanele said...

I literally laughed out loud about the feet picture! Great ideas and tips. I am a new mom and always love insight!

Ruthical said...

Your post truly resonated with me because I currently have three boys under the if five and already see them growing up so fast. The other advice I received in the past that I have kept is to take lots of videos. It's truly special seeing them move, how they sound, it just adds so much more?

Anonymous said...

The whole house woke up each child with pancakes and candles , breakfast in bed with happy birthday song As they became teenagers they would get up to sing to their sibling and then run back to bed. But each of them have continued this wonderful tradition with their children. Great memories. Birthday idea. !!

rachelteodoro said...

Yes, video, a thousand times yes! Those voices change and we forget what they say and how they said it. Also, write things down! I wish I had a book of the funny stuff from when they were younger!

rachelteodoro said...

The feet thing is no joke!

rachelteodoro said...

Love the birthday morning tradition. That's pretty darn sweet. Especially since they have continued it.

Ride On Toys For Toddlers said...

The family travel bucket list is a really good idea as reflecting back so much time has elapsed & without more specific destination or travel goals too many of the 940 Saturdays so far have been usurped with forgettable & busy things .... "there's always next year or summer" can turn into a slippery slope

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