For Memorable Moments with Your Kids, Break the Script

  by Erik Wolgemuth

There’s a script that guides normal, everyday life for most of us. And that’s a good thing. Kids need a healthy amount of sleep, they need the regularity of meals, showers/baths, and toothbrushing. But sometimes my parenting script borders on military strictness and precision. Before too long I’m operating in a deep, rigid parenting grove. I’ve been aware of this tendency of mine in the past, but after reading Chip and Dan Heath’s The Power of Moments recently, I realized that my kids need me to look for opportunities to break the script on occasion.

In The Power of Moments, the Heath brothers explore the most memorable moments in life: why they happen and how we can be intentional about creating them. Though much of the focus in the book is business-related, this is a topic that I realized should be front and center in deepening my dadcraft as well. How can I be more intentional about creating lasting memories with my kids instead of hoping we stumble into them?

There’s lots to glean from the Heath’s book, but one piece of advice resonated most deeply with me…break the script. Find a way to depart from normality. The beauty of this is that it doesn’t have to be anything huge or expensive…it just has to be markedly different from what’s normal for you and your kids.

Once I started thinking about what this could look like, I started bumping into other dads and families who were already doing this…

  • Putting kids to bed (normal)…only to get them out of bed five minutes later for a late-night movie (breaking the script).
  • Putting up Christmas lights (normal)…and having kids venture onto the roof while lights were being hung (breaking the script).
  • Watching a movie (normal)…while inside a massive pillow and blanket fort (breaking the script).

There are endless possibilities with this. So here are a few additional ideas to get you started:

  • Serve your kids breakfast…when they’re still in bed.
  • Drive your kids to school…and right before you drop them off, let them know you’re all taking the day off together.
  • Have a slumber party for the whole family together in one room.
  • Have the kids tuck you in for bed.
  • Put your kids in charge of the dinner menu.
  • Have a fake power outage…an entire evening that’s “unplugged,” just candlelight, darkness, and non-electric fun.

Remember, if you have a norm, then you have a chance to find a way to break the script and lock in a memory of something unique and special that your kids will likely remember for their whole life.


“Breaking the script” can be simple…maybe it’s just cooking with your kids, a different take on roughhousing, or supercharged coloring.

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Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash