Remember this: the gift of time keeps on giving as it builds a child’s self-esteem and a sense of being important.
Holidays and birthdays have a special way of bringing our focus back to family and encouraging the warmest of feelings. As parents, we are taking time to think of our children and consider the gifts that they would enjoy the most. We are planning how to make time to shop, where to get the best buys and when there will possibly be a spot for us in busy parking lots. We are creating beautiful home decorations wrapping and hiding presents while trying to feel and honor the spirit of the season, or the day, no matter what our religious beliefs or traditions.
Sometimes, given the unpredictability of illness, in the midst of our preparation we have to shift gears and manage our own disappointment, as well as our children’s in order to meet the medical needs of our loved one. The best laid plans… and all that. No matter what is happening in our lives, whether things are going along as planned, or not, there is one sure way to keep the good will and spirit of giving alive. That is in giving of oneself. It doesn’t cost money or require a parking space. When we remember to acknowledge all of our children’s best efforts and strengths we are reinforcing our love and support for them. When we encourage them at their times of failure and reassure them of our willingness to help them through- we are filling them with an awareness of being loved for more than just their accomplishments, but also encouraging their desire to please you and themselves.
Remember this: the gift of time keeps on giving as it builds a child’s self-esteem and a sense of being important. You don’t need the excuse of a holiday or birthday to offer this gift. The time you set aside to demonstrate they are a priority will contribute to healthy growth and development throughout their lifetime.
Suggestions for sharing time together:
- Prepare a meal, take a walk or walk a family pet, use this time to share thoughts and feelings
Family talent show night-tell jokes, sing a song, dance, hula hoop, perform magic tricks
- Movie Night, discuss and review with each other
- Watch a television show (weekly, if possible)
- Weekly game night for family fun, strategizing and good sportsmanship skills
- Take a trip to a library, museum, mall or sporting event, local libraries have museum passes for free, check online for additional discounts
- Make an effort to attend an activity of importance to your child
- Make a routine of sharing thumbs up/thumbs down at dinner, best/worst thing that happened that day, week, holiday time ...
- Freeze dance, movement can be invigorating, energizing and even relaxing when you are otherwise tense or in need of a laugh
- Go out for ice-cream or whatever your child regards as a treat
- Join together to work on a project to help others, donating toys, games, gently used clothing and canned food to the needy can improve the lives of others and is very empowering