The Christmas holiday is coming soon (just about 2 months away). This is the time when I start thinking about what presents to buy for my kids. And we’re happy when we know that we’ve gotten the right presents for them. Yet, I have found that very few childhood memories would include the toys and the new things we buy for them. Beyond these, I have found out along the way that there are some invaluable gifts from us that our children will never forget.
Invaluable Gift #1: Presence
Our presence as a parent is so important that this merits repetition. We have discussed this when we talked about the important factors for our babies’ play. But the importance of our presence doesn’t just stop at play. Our full presence with our children is one of those invaluable gifts in building their esteem, sense of security and emotional steadiness. When kids see that we’re fully present, they know that they’re valuable enough to get our attention.
And this includes both parents – fathers and mothers. The full presence of a fatherly figure in a kid’s life means your boy has a valuable role model and your girl knows what to expect in future relationships. Likewise, the full physical and emotional presence of a mother helps to provide our kids protection from stress and emotional regulation. These two factors are important for healthy brain development, especially when the kids are still babies.
So, who knows? While we wreck our brains thinking what gifts to get, we might have just missed out the fact that we ourselves are the greatest gifts that we can give to our children.
Invaluable Gift #2: Discipline
Our kids need to learn everything from scratch, including appropriate behaviors, how to get along with others, how to get the results they want, etc. One of the invaluable gifts we can give is therefore the gift of discipline. It may sound harsh to many caring parents. But if we want our kids to grow up to demonstrate appropriate behaviors, then it has to start young.
This includes many things – like asking them to pack up their stuff after play, constantly reminding them at home and outside to keep their volume down etc. I’m not saying that we react at anything they do that doesn’t fit our idea of appropriate behaviors. But the idea is that we can’t let the kids do whatever they want and give them the impression that they could get away with it.
And I’m pretty sure that our kids will thank us for the invaluable gift of discipline many years down the road.
Invaluable Gift #3: Encouragement
Words are powerful. They can make or break our child, regardless how old they are. The simple words that we choose to speak today can offer encouragement and affirmation to our kids. For example, when our kids decide to put their toys back after playing, we can say something to the effect of “well done!” instead of saying things like “this is what you should do!”
This applies for my 8-month old niece as well. Whenever she does something I told her to do, I’ll smile at her and give her a big “yay” to let her know that she has done well. And she likes it. I can tell.
So try encouraging the kiddos at every opportunity we can. We’ll never know how invaluable a gift this is to them.
Invaluable Gift #4: Curiosity
Young kids and babies like to explore. And one of the invaluable gifts you can give to them at a young age is curiosity. That’s giving them the space to explore their own surrounding. These are inherent in their nature. They will like to go around, touch things and look at stuff. For older kids who can already talk, we can even teach them to ask questions about who, what, where, how, why and why not!
Of course, as parents, we may find it frustrating sometimes. And it’s a temptation to blurt out “stop asking so many questions!” But think about it, are we then curbing their curiosity and stopping them from discovering this world for themselves?
There are many invaluable gifts that we can give to our children. But many times, the most invaluable gifts are those that’ll help them become better people in the future.