Note to future self: 12 things to do for your kids

I frequently come across stories, interviews, movies, novels, and people that give rise to ideas for things I mentally file away to do for my as-yet-nonexistent kids.  So this is a reference for my future self, about what I imagine will be the most important endeavor I will ever undertake: parenting.

1. When deciding on what to name them, make sure their Gmail account ( and domain name ( are available.

2. Squat on their email and domain name until they’re old enough to use them.

3. Email them as they’re growing up a la Google’s “Dear Sophie” video (in it, a dad shares memories with his daughter as she grows up by emailing them to “”).

4. Hoard cardboard boxes: this 9-year-old boy built an elaborate arcade out of cardboard boxes in his dad’s garage.

5. Don’t throw away your Game Boy.

6. Don’t throw away your Tetris cartridge.

7. Same goes for your old school Nintendo and Super Marios World 3:

Source: Wikipedia

8. Travel. A lot.

9. Have your kids plan the itinerary.

When Seth Priebatsch, founder of SCVNGR, was young, he and his sister were responsible for planning the itinerary for their family vacations — down to the hour. This was one of the many things his parents did that comprised what the NY Times called “boot camp for the brain.” Favorite excerpt from the Times’ profile of Seth:

“I like winning,” he says. “I’m addicted to the act of winning, the process. When you are in the act of winning, everything is great. Once you’ve won, that’s boring. It’s cool, it’s better than having lost, but it’s boring.”

Great piles of money would not slow him down, either.

“I’m not anti-money,” he says. “I like nice bikes, I like nice computers. I like that money is a representation of success, but the actual entity itself is not interesting for me. There is little that I would want that I don’t have, and the things that I want money can’t buy.”


He doesn’t pause.

“I want to build the game layer on top of the world.”

- “Just Manic Enough: Seeking Perfect Entrepreneurs,” New York Times

10. Make sure they learn how to code.

11. Get them Photoshop.

12. Pretend Santa exists for as long as possible.

This list is, of course, a work in progress. Any ideas for things to add? :-)

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  • cindy

    teehee!! i did #1 for my little brother when he was really young becuase i was sad i couldnt get my first.last name :(

    on my list id prob add: let them take dance, art, music, singing, karate, sports classes/lessons so they discover what they are good at and enjoy doing :)

    oh i also like that pintrest idea that you posted thats like cover a table with paper and let them draw — or let them draw on a specific wall in their room — creative freedom!

  • ellen

    <3 <3 <3 this!

    I plan to be a squatter too!

  • ray

    Ahhh I posted about the dear Sophie, promised I would do it!
    I would include learn anothrr language and play an instrument!

  • cynthiakoo

    @Cindy – Oooh, yes! When I was writing this list, I went on Pinterest to dig up ideas I had pinned, specifically looking for that one, but I don’t know where I pinned that one to, lol.

    @Ray – And read Harry Potter to them at bedtime. :)

    @Ellen – <3