Now that the presents have been unwrapped and your children are busy playing with their new toys, you might be thinking, ‘no more presents, they have too much already.’
Actually, your child will benefit from just one more gift. The most important gift that you can give your child, the one gift they will keep forever…the gift of your presence.
I have worked with many children, both young and old, who have shared this common wish…a wish that they had more time with their parents, a wish that their parents paid attention to them, a wish that their parents ‘heard and saw’ them. Most, if not all, of these children had parents who were loving and wanted what was best for their child. Their parents provided for them but were often caught up in the business of everyday life…filled with schedules, responsibilities, and commitments. They were parents who felt that they gave their child so much attention because of everything that they ‘did’ for them. While all of this is important, a child remembers their parent ‘being’ with them much more than the ‘doing’ for them.
Our children, when they look back on their childhood, will remember having clothes to wear and food to eat, but what will stay with them for the rest of their lives are their memories…of special times with spent with you. Do you remember a special time with your parent? What were you doing together? How were you feeling about your time together? Although those memories occurred years ago, doesn’t it feel like it was only yesterday?
As you reflect on the past year and begin to think about the New Year, make the commitment to give your child the gift of your presence…
Create a ‘special time’ for you and your child each day…it can be as little as 10-15 minutes each day. Let you child know that this is your special time together and that you really look forward to this time with them. Allow your child to choose an activity and enjoy your time together, without worries about schedules and responsibilities. This time together provides an opportunity for you to spend uninterrupted time with your child and to begin to see them as the unique individual that they are.
Create memories together with activities, celebrations, and events.
Spending time with your child, whether you are reading to each other, baking cookies, drawing, or looking at the stars at night, all leave a lasting memory…
What can you do today to create a memory with your child?
“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.” ~ Charles R. Swindoll