Day 289: Family Home Movies

Making family home movies is something that you should try to do on a regular basis. If you don’t ever set a time for it, it is easy to fall through the cracks and then you miss capturing phases of your children’s lives. It is a little easier when there’s a small child in the home, as usually you want to capture all of the new stages, from rolling over, to crawling, to walking.

However, you don’t have to wait until the big events in order to break out the camera. As kids go through phases of doing or saying particularly funny things, I like to capture the little day-to-day things I found so charming or funny. When you look back, it will be even that much more charming and funny now that they are out of that phase.

Whatever you do, make sure that you back up your movies so that you have them on a computer or a disk or somewhere else so that they are well preserved to enjoy for years to come.


Day 288: Anne Frank on Fatherhood

“How true Daddy’s words were when he said: ‘All children must look after their own upbringing.’ Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”
— Anne Frank, German Jew and Holocaust Victim

Day 286: Planning a Birthday Party

As your children get older, birthday parties will be of more and more importance. For the first few, many kids will be satisfied with some cake to stuff in their face and a few new things to play with. If your child wants a birthday party, it can be complicated logistical affair and something that you need to help your spouse with.

There are invitations to write, food and activities to prepare, presents to buy and wrap and other possibly other considerations as well, such as entertainment. You might make a planning checklist to make sure that you covered all of the tasks and have invited everyone you were intending to.

We will want to consider upfront how many people you realistically want to invite to a party. Sometimes it is fun to have a large crowd at the party, but it can become more unruly to control and will require more preparation to set up. A smaller group can provide a simpler logistical side and allow each person to spend more time with the birthday kid.

If you work with your spouse to plan the children’s parties, it can be an experience that all of you make into a wonderful memory.

Day 285: Fictional Fathers: Life Is Beautiful

The example of fatherhood seen in the film “Life is Beautiful” is both touching and incredibly sad. In the film, a humble Italian Jew marries the woman of his dreams and they have a son. He and his son are eventually captured and taken to a Nazi concentration camp. The boy’s father does not want his son to worry or to fully experience the horrors of their situation, and so he frames an alternate reality: that they are part of an elaborate game and whoever wins the most points will get a tank as a prize at the end.

Eventually, the Nazis hear that the Americans are approaching to come liberate the camp and so they start executing prisoners. As a final act of love, the father tells his son to go hide and that this is the final phase of the game, that if he wins this part it will surely get the tank. Because of his father’s love, the boy is spared and is picked up by none other than American driving a tank.

Day 283: Top Ten Tips for New Dads from Daniel Tomasulo, PHD, Tip 4

4. Infants are fans of motion.

They love it and crave it, and need it.  They love to be held, jostled, bounced and jiggled. There is good reason for this.  Movement helps infants develop everything from their brains to their sense of balance. When you hold your baby, give them a feeling of security, but not too tight or too loose. Don’t be afraid to hold and sway and bounce and cuddle. Learn what he or she likes and cultivate that motion.  You want to be the one with that magic touch when baby needs a motion magician.

Top Ten Tips for New Dads from Daniel Tomasulo, PHD

Day 282: Family Talent Show

Having a family talent show is an excellent way to motivate children to work on their talents. It can also be a lot of fun together as a family, in a low risk environment to learn how to get over stage fright. Have each person in the family prepare something using one of their talents, whether it is singing something, playing an instrument, or creating a work of art of some sort, perhaps even writing a poem.

You make the rules that everyone has to be paying attention and listening closely when another person is on stage and that everybody claps at the end, and doesn’t say anything to make whoever’s on stage feel embarrassed. No one is allowed to talk but it a person onstage, unless it is some sort of comedy routine or magic act with audience participation.

If you start here by getting your kids used to performing, who knows how else they might reach out and use their wonderful talents?