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Sunday 24 September 2023 Dublin: 17°C
# parents panel
'Mum adored our Sunday walks': 8 parents on the childhood traditions they're sharing with their own kids
‘I have no doubt my boys will grow to hate the walks as much as I did.’

BY THE TIME your little one reaches toddler and preschool age, they’re well able to tell you what they want. And that’s where the trouble starts, from dealing with tantrums to navigating playdates. That’s why it can be so helpful to hear how other parents are getting through it all.

Our Toddler and Preschool Parents Panel is made up of parents with little ones from 24 months up to age five.

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So much of what we learn about families and child-raising is absorbed from our own parents by osmosis. No matter what your situation was growing up, there’s bound to be a few habits, rules or traditions you’ve end up carrying with you onto your own parenting journey.

This week, we asked mums and dads to share the parenting traditions and rules they’ve taken from their own parents, intentionally or not:

Yelling “Heads Fingers Toes!” each time I close the car boot: Just to make sure no one gets smacked by the boot closing. Exactly like my dad.

- Emily Lewis

‘Car adventures’: My mum was a great woman for car adventures. Any weather, driving to an unknown area, finding a secret spot for a bag of chips and munching away surrounded by something new. I still love to do it, granted it took a while as my little lad used to go stir crazy in the car seat…

- Cliondhna Kerrigan

The Sunday walk: As kids, Sunday was family day and there would always be a walk in the woods or on the beach – my mom was great for organising day trips.

As a grumpy teenager I had no clue of why she organised those trips, but she died suddenly when I was 18 and I wish I could thank her now for the efforts she went to. It was our family time together, in nature, with weekly doses of memory making, and I’ve continued the tradition with my kids.

I have no doubt my boys will grow to hate our Sunday walks as much as I did – but hopefully I’ll still be here the day they realise that our time together was my gift to them.

- Niamh Doyle

shutterstock_63587158 Shutterstock / Elena Yakusheva Shutterstock / Elena Yakusheva / Elena Yakusheva

Special rules for eating out: Going to a restaurant as a family group was always important to my mum and dad, and they wanted it to be enjoyable for everyone.The rule was that when we were in a restaurant, the kids could order whatever they wanted and they were allowed to eat what they wanted of it – trying new foods was seen as more important than finishing them. I try to stick to the same rules. It makes eating out as a family so much more fun and relaxed.

- Juliet Ward

Picnics on the beach, no shelter necessary: This tradition is carried forward by my wife from her childhood. Last year in Enniscrone she scoffed at the picnic bench I suggested in the grassy area and led us on to the beach, on the windiest day of the year. Two adults and two toddlers braving the elements, three of us crying loudly. Crisp sandwiches so full of sand that it was impossible to decipher the flavour. But hey, it’s tradition!

- Ger Lowry

Stirring the Christmas pudding: When we make our Christmas pudding everyone in the house has to stir the mixture and make a wish. My husband once asked where it came from and I had to think about it. It’s something that my Granny used to do and I remember my mom talking about it at her funeral, a favourite memory from her childhood. My mom passed it down to us as kids, and now my own children do it with me.

- Deirdre McCormack

Saturday morning cartoons: We limit screen time during the week (mostly!) but I have such fond memories of watching TV with my brothers and sisters on a Saturday morning that I’m carrying this tradition on with our two.

– Joanne Burke

Spending ages in the bookshop: Tips to book shops were a regular occurrence when I was a kid and we would spend what felt like ages looking through the different genres, picking things up and putting them back before eventually settling on the few we would add to our collection. My parents love of books has stayed with me for life and I hope that I can pass on the magic to my own girls.

- Nicola Barry

More: ‘Please don’t pee in the shoe’ – 12 mums and dads share the weirdest things they’ve said as parents>

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