1. Movie Night: Each Friday night they pop popcorn, make chocolate-chip cookies, and watch a movie!
2. Interviews: Shawni's dad started a tradition of having a little one-on-one "interview" with each child once a week. She explains, "He'd ask all kinds of questions. He'd help us figure out our goals. When we were really little he'd write the initial of our best talents on each of our ten fingertips. He'd make us feel so great about ourselves. He'd ask what he could help with.... [she goes on to share] This is a tough thing to carry on with my kids because I'm not anywhere near as organized or as amazing as my dad. But I do enjoy writing occasional letters on my kids' fingertips and I have cornered them for an 'interview' on occasion. This year I've decided to try to do interviews on our monthly lunch dates, which is the next idea..."
3. Lunch Dates. I LOVE, LOVE this idea for taking each child out of school lunch hour every now and then! Shawni tries to do once a month. Sure you may still have toddlers/babies tagging along, but it's still that child's "special day." They get to choose the fast food place and you get some essential one-on-one time!
4. Mother's Day Letters. I too feel so passionately about record keeping, and I'm sure it will get even crazier and harder to keep up on it as we have more kids. I love writing them "notes" in their journals (of course not nearly as much as I would like!) of the strengths I see in them, of funny stories, and of how much I love the little things they do. Shawni started a tradition of asking for a few hours each Mother's Day to sit down and write each of her kids a "love note" where she writes "how much I love them at every stage and what I've noticed about them each year." These are precious letters to compile and keep forever!
5. Clean Ten. She says, "Whenever things get really cluttery...(ok, pretty much a few times a day) we just say "clean ten" and the kids have to each pick up and put away ten things."
6. Late Nights. Shawni explains that "'Late Nights' are when the kids get to rotate each getting a turn once a week to stay up ten or fifteen minutes later than the others. They eat this up. It's such a short amount of time, but they think it's the luckiest thing ever when it's their turn and we love to give them some undivided one-on-one attention."
7. "Happies" & "Sads" At dinner time you each take turns saying your "happies" (best part of your day) and "sads" (worst moment of the day)! I've tried doing this at bedtime which can be fun too. She says it's a great way to get some details and more of a discussion than just describing their day as "fine" or "bad." LOVE ALL THESE IDEAS! THANKS TO SHAWNI!