With all the preparations for the festivities in full swing it can be incredibly tempting to get all caught up in the consumerism of the festive period; losing sight of the opportunities instead to seek connection. Children are bombarded from every angle to desire more and more things and the reality is they rarely need or even want the long list of toys, gadgets, they write on their very long Christmas list!
They too get caught up in the notion that without these things they will somehow be less fulfilled, when actually all they really want is our time and presence. If you’re like me and want the festive period to be more about time together as a family, and you want your children to stay grounded, then try out my five ways to achieve this
Focus on giving children experiences rather than more ‘stuff’
Whilst new gadgets and toys are great when our children first open them, they are often only really enjoyed for a day or two before being abandoned. If you actually asked your child to list last year’s presents they would probably really struggle to name them all. However, experiences are treasured a lifetime as they come with memories of shared time together, which your children will be talking about for years to come and will become part of the narrative of their childhood.
Create an attitude of gratitude
In this time of incredible abundance it is even more important that we teach our children an attitude of gratitude for all which they are fortunate enough to have. This isn’t about all the toys and gadgets but about remembering and honouring all the smaller things, which we often take for granted.
Loving family, a warm house, their bed, wonderful friends to play with, health to enjoy the outside weather, food to warm their tummies, and laughter and games shared with loved ones. Encourage your children to write down three things which they are grateful for each and every day and it will not only ground them; it’ll also promote positive mental health and well-being.
Teach your child to enjoy giving as much as receiving
In anticipation of all the wonderful new gifts they will receive encourage your children to sort through their current toys and gadgets and donate those which they are no longer using. They could take them to a local charity shop, a women’s refuge, church, or other worthy recipients. Make sure it’s your child who takes their sifted through toys with you so they can see the direct impact their actions have had.
Promote a daily practice of service to others
Encourage a daily practice of ‘service’ to others. This is simply doing something for someone else each and every day. It may be helping a younger sibling tie their shoe laces, putting on their coat, or helping you unload the shopping or lay the table. Setting up such a practice promotes independence, resilience, and empathy; all of which keep children grounded whilst they enjoy all their abundance.
Practice the four-gift rule
The idea behind this is based on the simple rule of buying your children just four gifts, which meet the following criteria. The rest can be experiences. Buy them ……
- Something they want
- Something they need
- Something to wear, and
- Something to read
This article is sponsored by Dr Maryhan Baker – Empowering Parents to raise confident and resilient children.