The Gifts that Keep Giving

Gifts that Make a Diference

 What is the best gift for  your child?  There is no need to wait for a special birthday or Christmas occasion to give the perfect gift. Rather, following is a thought procesThe Best Giftss on truly the best five personal gifts a parent or caregiver can give  a child.   These gifts make for a happy, successful child.

1. Giving of Your Time

Writing experts might say to save the best thought for last, but this gift is too powerful and deserves mentioning right out of the shoot.  Give your child the gift of your time and attention.  There is no monetary or worldly item that is worth  the value of your time. Your child needs your quality time.     What is quality time?  It is time dedicated to the child, void of distractions like checking cell phones, email messages, etc.  Today’s schedules are tough.  Careers demand this all important asset.  If it means scheduling time for that child in your calendar, so be it.  What can a parent  do with this time?  The possibilities are endless.  Read a book together.  Take a walk. Sit and chat at your favorite ice cream parlor.  Take a leisurely drive together.  Let your child know this time is theirs.  It will be the best investment possible.

2.  Speaking Softly

Oh, the day will come when a child's behavior tests your patience to the greatest extent.  What do some do when angry at a child or in dismay at their actions?  The voice gets loud and more aggressive in tone.  Experience the power of a lower, quieter voice from the time your child is a baby.  When a child has done something wrong, approach him or her and make eye contact. Lower your voice when upset and not raise it.  Try it.  The difference is unbelievable for all involved. 

3.  Finding a Passion

Take responsibility for helping your child find a passion.  Elementary school years are the perfect time for this. With all that your time and resources will allow, expose your child to activities that can find their interests.  The list of possibilities is endless; swimming, soccer, basketball, football, theater, singing, dancing, sewing, scouting, cooking, painting, etc.  The list continues.  This is crucial.  Human beings need to feel a part of something, a part of some group.  Children ultimately will be a part of something whether favourable or poor.  In the case of gangs, the situation is obviously negative. Numerous case studies prove that children involved in extra-curricular activities have better grades, higher self-esteem, and stay out of trouble.  Children need your help to try  hobbies and interests on for size.  Keep in mind that the child might not show interest in the same hobby or activity parents had as children.  Your job is not to create a clone of yourself, but to raise a happy, productive child. Explore the possibilities.    Remember the old quote that reminds us that the idle mind is the playground of the devil.

4.  Hugging-a-Lot

Hugs and pats on the back are the silent, “I love you” statements.  Use them often. Tfthe price is right on this gift as it is free.

5.  Connecting

Find a common interest to share with your child.  It is easy when they are babies or toddlers.  Just play with the blocks, or read a favorite book.  This one gets trickier as a child gets older, but becomes more vital than ever in the adolescent years.  Most children go through periods where they feel as if they have nothing in common with their parents.  Communications suffer at pressures of this situation.  Minimize this situation  by finding common interests early in the parent/child relationship. Become knowledgeable about  stars or performers admired by your child.  As a parent, make their passion your interest.  For example, my husband took up golf after a long hiatus after college to have a common activity to do with one of our three sons in middle school.  Every Saturday morning, three hours or more spent on the golf course provided much together time.  A difference occurs in the relationship.  Our youngest son developed a passion for theater.  We had not been keen on the arts up to that point, but we made it our passion.  Now, going to New York once a year to see musical theater productions is a most anticipated event.  We got interested to follow his passion as he performed throughout his school years and later chose acting as a career path.  We have three sons, and scuba diving was the shared interest between my husband and the older son. All three sons had different passions.  In addition to our own interests, we made their passions ours. Find multiple commonalities if possible.  Simple activities such as shopping or going to movies count as shared interests.  Somehow it seems those passions take that parent-child relationship through the teen years and on into adulthood.  Common interests promote lifelong positive relationships between parents and their children. 

Taking the Gift-Giver Test

Take this test.  Look at the five fingers on your hand.  Ask yourself a question for each finger and see how you fare.  Do you spend dedicated time with your child?  Do you speak in calm, caring tones with your child even when upset with his or her actions?  Is your child passionate about a hobby or activity? Are hugs and pats on the back given freely in your home?  Do you share a common interest with your child?  Score one point for each answer that is a resounding “yes.”  Aim for five, a “high five” for positive parent-child relations