Sometimes the simplest ideas are the ones that bring the most joy to our lives and the lives of our children. My husband, who is the most wonderfully fun and imaginative daddy, began this lovely little tradition in our home. It costs no money and takes almost no time, and yet lights the same sparkle of delight in our daughter’s eyes as any costly or laborious surprise…
One evening when leafing through the junk mail, my husband found a picture of a baby lion. Knowing that our daughter loves lions, he simply cut out the picture and attached it with a magnet to the fridge at our daughter’s eye level. The following morning at breakfast time, my daughter discovered the picture – and just bubbled over with glee. She spent the rest of the morning having enthusiastic conversations with us about lions, lovingly carrying the picture around with her as she played until it was tattered almost beyond recognition. Such excitement – not to mention so many opportunities for learning – resulting from such a small act of thoughtfulness.
Nothing can spark a child’s interest quite like a surprise. And those surprised and delighted moments are some of the most powerful when it comes to learning new things, igniting conversations, and connecting with your child’s heart. And a simple surprise like this one could work with a child of almost any age…
· Babies - Try posting a new, interesting picture near your baby’s crib or change table (Helpful Hint: Young babies love bold black and white patterns and pictures of faces).
· Toddlers and preschoolers – Choose pictures from magazines or flyers, family photos, a drawing you’ve created, or for a super fun surprise - a little sheet of stickers.
· Older children – Why not post a little love note for your child to find from time to time? It could be a tradition you choose to carry on even into the teen years!
I believe that when our children grow up, it will be the special little moments that they will look back on with the most fondness. The things we do just to surprise them, and to let them know how wonderful we think they are. My husband continues to leave little surprises on our fridge from time to time. And they are so much more than just pictures. They are tiny, cut-out love notes, communicated in a language understood perfectly by one happy toddler heart.