If you hit bull’s eye and got your kids some fancy, expensive gifts for the holidays that they are still playing with some weeks later, kudos to you. But what if you got your kids presents that only held their interest for a couple of days? You probably feel like you wasted money.
It turns out, a lot of the best gifts that you can give to your children … cost no money at all.
Isn’t it marvelous that you can go out there and blow a small fortune on presents for your kids, if you choose to — but that you don’t have to?
If you work ongoingly to mold your child’s mind and character in positive ways, you’ll be giving your youngster gifts that will last them a lifetime and that could help them in countless ways.
Here’s a list of totally free — yet priceless — gifts that a parent can give to their child.
What percentage of Americans suffer from low self-esteem? The question doesn’t even need to be asked. All around us, we see people who ‘act up’ in all kinds of ways, to get attention. These are people who probably did not feel valued by their parents growing up.
Teaching your children that they are awesome, and that you love them greatly, will help them develop into adults who’ll value themselves and strive to be useful and helpful to others.
Self-esteem and self-confidence are cousins. Teach your child that he or she is special in his or her own unique way. You do this by taking the time to periodically point out something at which your child excelled and telling them how proud you are of them.
Accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative — by gently, thoughtfully correcting your child’s mistakes (or overlooking the small ones) — is not only a great way to get along with others, but an excellent way to strengthen your child’s positive attributes, while correcting what is wrong without causing the child to begin having doubts about their abilities and their worth.
Your child drops a container of food on the floor, and it spills or shatters everywhere. Do you:
a) Proceed to scream at your kid and ask how s/he could be so clumsy?
b) Use the moment to strengthen their self-confidence, saying something like, “It’s okay, baby; I think we’re both a little tired right now from pushing our bedtimes last night.”
Give Your Child Physical Affection
We adults know that getting an embrace, a kiss or even a touch from someone that we love feels wonderful. Children are no exception. Babies are tiny, compared to adults; growing children are smaller than us. But all of us, regardless of size, feel good and feel comforted when someone that we care about gives us physical affection.
So, don’t hold back. Hug your kids, kiss them, cuddle up with your children and read a book or watch TV together.
Give Children Your Time
And speaking of being an affectionate parent, it goes without saying that kids love attention and need it, to grow emotionally.
We all love and need attention from people that we love; being that kids don’t have all the skills and knowledge of a grown-up, they are that much more in need of attention, guidance and positive reinforcement from the main grown-ups in their lives.
And insuring that you give your kids those things means of course spending plenty of time with them.
Even if you are a busy working parent, as most of us are, make even 10 minutes a day to sit one-on-one with your child, inquiring about their day and looking for opportunities to guide them, praise them, and learn about things that are happening in their lives.
The way to get your child to trust you and tell you about their daily lives is to spend time with them, emphasizing the good and reminding them that you are there to help and protect them.
Teaching your child patience is one of the best things that you could do for them. Teach your kids patience in dealing with others, and patience in life: that even when we work to get certain results, we may not achieve them right away. Teach them that it’s okay to fail, and that we should continue to strive, even when we don’t initially find success.
Teach Your Children Charity
From an early age, you should teach your children to have empathy and compassion for others. When one child snatches another’s toy and the other starts wailing, use it as a learning opportunity to teach kindness: “Your little brother thinks your toy is great, too. Is it okay if he plays with it for a little while, since you weren’t playing with it then?”
All communities have opportunities to get involved in helping the less fortunate. School-age children can be encouraged to do something for needy children, the elderly, the homeless, etc., which will instill in your child the importance of kindness and charity.
Teach Your Kids Discipline
But do so with kindness! Teach them the importance of getting up and going to bed at around the same time every day (which will go a long way in avoiding sleep deprivation and the many problems that can arise from that). But don’t just yell at them to get up or to go to bed. Instead, take the time to explain that their growing bodies need a lot of rest (more than adults) to grow properly and be healthy.
Create an atmosphere that reinforces and rewards discipline, such as being firm about not allowing use of electronics after a certain time (or not letting child have electronics in the room, if they are too tempting). Praise your children when they succeed at something (such as getting a good grade) through work and discipline.
Teach Your Kids to Love Being Active!
Whether it’s rollerblading, bike-riding, swimming, shooting hoops with the neighborhood kids or any other sports, getting your child involved in regular physical activity is another great way to teach discipline, strengthen self-esteem — and keep your child physically healthy.
Whether your kid is just a few years old, a tween or a teen, physical exercise will help him or her be healthy, and promote an excellent habit that will probably stay with them for life.
By Lisa Pecos