parents

The 22 things I want to do with my kids before they up and leave me.

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It goes a little something like this:

1. Your child is born

2. Your baby becomes a toddler

3. Your child goes to school

4. Your child goes to university or work

5. Your child leaves home.

That’s it. Five major stages and wham, they are leaving the nest to make their own way, without you.

And I for one need it all to slow down a bit. I’m not quite, despite the eye rolling and irrational mood swings, ready to accept that these stages with my teenage daughter are almost over.

The thing is, I always thought that I had more time. More time to tick off more points on the ‘you and me’ bucket list. You know, all those things you think you’ll get to do with your kids before they leave you.

So from me to you, as someone who has managed to tick off some of the following but not nearly enough, here are the 22 things you should do with your kids before they find their wings and leave home – forever.

1. Catch a wave. Take your kids to the beach and let them feel how wonderful it feels to feel the force of the ocean behind them
2. Go Camping. Just, you, them, a tent and nature.
3. Play Hide and Go seek in the dark
4. Cook together, most importantly, pass on a family recipe
5. Travel together out of your comfort zone and then travel some more (finances permitting)
6. Go to a big concert together (even if you don’t love their choice)
7. Volunteer with them. Help the less fortunate. Make them understand their good fortune in life
8. See, experience and play in the snow
9. Own a pet
10. Let them go outside and play with absolute abandon in the falling rain.
11. Camp out in the lounge room
12. Build a pillow fort
13. Make popcorn, turn on a John Hughes movie and spend a Saturday night in together
14. Help them learn a musical instrument
15. Put a surprise note in their lunch box (just because)
16. Go fishing
17. See a BIG sporting event together. One that elicits excitement and pride
18. Build a sandcastle with a moat that fills with water as the tide comes in
19. Allow them to fall asleep in front of the TV and carry them up to bed
20. Fall in love with the same book
21. Ride a pushbike to a creek and just sit for a while
22. Last but certainly not least, just spend time together.

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Bern with her boys.

I know a lot of the above are no-brainers. That when we were kids, a lot of these things happened without thought or forward planning but our lives are so very different to that of our own children. We will have to make a concerted effort to make sure that they get to experience the simple pleasures in life like we did.

They go from being helpless tiny humans to self-sufficient, young adults in what feels like, the blink of an eye. While you’ve got them there, under your roof, hold them close, engage them in the simple stuff and remember to tell them, as often as you can, that you love them. And that you always will.

Because right now, and we might lose sight of this in the day-to-day logistics of being a parent, we are responsible for creating their memories. So let’s try to give them some bloody good ones.

How many of the above can you tick off? What would you add to the bucket list? What else should we make sure we experience with our children before they leave us and step out on their own?

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