The Art of the Surprise

Posted: January 21, 2012 in Parenting
Tags: , , , , ,

Parents are too predictable.

I’m 40, but I’ll never forget one magical day in the 6th grade.  It was a Thursday. My brother and I just got home from school and were playing football in the backyard.  My dad came home from work early, called everyone together and said, “Go pack. We’re going to Disneyland!” Of course we thought he was joking, but he was dead-serious!

There are several things that made that trip special:  We missed school on Friday! It caught us by surprise.  Our family was together and had a great time.

As parents, I think it should be in our CREED to be CREATIVE.  When we do the UNEXPECTED, we CREATE MEMORIES.  There’s nothing wrong with the ROUTINE. In fact, my house wouldn’t run well without it.  However, don’t be afraid to STRAY FROM THE NORMAL. Keep your kids ‘guessing’.  Keep them anticipating “what’s next?”.  Help them get excited about your family.  It’s the unpredictable, spontaneous event that make your kids’ “highlight reel”.  It’s awesome to hear your kids bragging about how “cool” their parents are and how “awesome” their family is.

Here are some ideas:

1. Pull your kid out of school; take them out to lunch to a place of THEIR choice.

2. Take an unplanned, mid-week trip to Disneyland.

3. Take a daytrip out of town to a famous location (museum, zoo, historical site, etc.)

4. Leave notes in their lunchbox or backpack.

5. Try a “new” family activity TOGETHER. (hike, board game, ice skating, roller-skating, lazer tag, paintball, climbing gym, indoor racing, bounce house, etc.)

6. Clean their room for them while they’re at school and leave a small “gift” for them.

7. Take them out for an inexpensive “date” where you can TALK together (Starbucks, ice cream or yogurt shop)  –or– try an elaborate date night where you all dress up and go out for a dining EXPERIENCE (like Melting Pot w/ Gondola rides, etc.)

8.  Secretly plan a “sleep over” with their closest friends.

9. Give them a small-scale Christmas in July.

What are some of your ideas?

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