It’s common to give a gift to a child upon returning from a trip. I was recently out of the country for a week and came home with several little things to give to my wife and daughters. Around the hugs and warm welcomes of being home, there’s the excitement in giving gifts.
But to be honest, it’s been a month since this happened and I can barely remember what I brought home. Which leads me to believe that gifts do have their place (mostly because you were thinking of them while you gone!), but it’s the intangibles that really touch the child’s heart.
I’ve been reading a book called Parenting is Heart Work by Turansky and Miller. When I read parenting books, I’m always motivated to be better and do more. This book reminded me again of the importance of the intangible gifts that truly touch a child’s heart. I hope you’re motivated as well as you read these seven “gifts” to give your child(ren):
It’s not always easy to get into the world of a child, but when you do, you uncover a gold mine. She begins to talk about what interests her and begins to understand more about life! Talking is invaluable for parents and kids because you are building a bank of connection for future relationship and connection. Connect today, no matter the age, so that as your child grows, the pattern and habit of talking with you will stay. [Three Critical Times To Engage With Your Kids]
My mom used to come to my room and stand listening while I talked before going to bed. I remember it happening night after night. It was formative for me. That was before the days of technology like we have now. It’s more difficult to set things aside and truly listen to our kids, but we must fight to do so. Listening is needed so your child can express himself, talk out problems and come up with solutions and process the events of the day. Listening helps your child know you care and your questions help the become good thinkers as they process and answer. [Help Your Kids Become Good Thinkers With These Two Questions]
In the spring of 1976, Jack Lewis, who was a Kentucky government state social worker – for foster children, adoptions and juvenile delinquency – started a campaign. He got the idea while on vacation then came back home and printed 10,000 bumper stickers that said, “Have You Hugged Your Kid Today?” The slogan took off. In fact, that summer at the state fair, people were fighting over the stickers! Jack realized the power of touch in the life of a kid! Hugging, back scratching, good night kisses, holding hands – touch is important for kids of any age. Find ways to hug your kid today.
High Energy Activities
The gift of adventure is irreplaceable in a child’s life development! Take bike rides, play tennis, go on nature hikes, or make up high impact games outdoors! This important intangible gift doesn’t have to cost a thing, builds risk-taking attitudes, and sets up the child for a life of great memories of physical activity. It also builds confidence and connection and is perfect as your child grows into the teen years.
Sharing a interest with your child or developing one together is really powerful. On one family vacation, my daughter and I found a Backgammon Game in the lodge, looked up the rules online and learned how to play it! we stuck with for a long while after lunch and really enjoyed it. We still play now and then and it’s always fun. It was a shared interest in a simple game. The list for this is endless – shared interest in tech, games, hobbies, music, sports, or food. Discover the topic and invest time together in it – a tremendous gift to your child.
Celebrate all you can! Find great times to get or give a special treat. Celebrate the start of school, the end of school, big milestones, good grades, or being on good behavior and teamwork after a long day of working in the yard together. Invest a little money on ice cream – or look around for great coupons or other special deals to save for the perfect time.
Our daughter recently finished a school unit on the rainforest. We capped it off with a family trip to the Rainforest Cafe. When my older daughter turned 12, she and I took a trip (just to the two of us) to Washington DC for a week. It was a wonderful time of connection, fun and memories. We recently celebrated a birthday into teen years and invited people who were close to the family and to our daughter to write letters to her to keep in a booklet we created. I typically use my personal Instagram account to track the fun things we do with our my kids and family. Churches do this through confirmation, Bible presentations, baptisms and more. Figure out what some of the milestones in life are for your kids, hype them up and create a memory about it – in big and small ways!
You can pick up a copy of the Parenting is Heart Work here.
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