The Best Gifts Ever: Life Experiences Every Child Should Have

This past holiday season Canadians spent over $45 billion-with parents paying out almost $1.8 billion of that on their children's presents alone. However, the best gifts we can give our children can not be purchased in a store. And while they are within the grasp of all parents to give, not all children receive them.

What are these gifts?

Nothing more than six simple life experiences every child should have:

The gift of healthy habits. Children need to learn about and experience regular exercise, adequate sleep, and proper nutrition. Help instill these habits from an early age, or any age for that matter. Encourage your kids to get active. Explore and use your neighbourhood recreation centre. Re-discover walking. Teach the importance of healthy eating.

The gift of unconditional love. Show your children how much you love them-with your words and actions. Let them know that you will always be there for them. Teach your children to separate their actions from their sense of self. Explain that while you might sometimes be disappointed or even furious with their actions, you will always love them.

The gift of compassion. As a family you might volunteer your time or talents to assist those in need. Some families agree to donate 10% of each child's allowance to a charity of his/her choosing. Consider sponsoring a child, or adopting an abandoned pet from your local SPCA or Humane Society. Teach them the value of action-getting involved and selflessly giving of yourself so that others may gain.

The gift of potential. Help your children discover their own unique talents, as well as identify new ones. Try various activities and explore areas of interest. Nurture their potential through hobbies, visits to the library, or talking to people in various fields. Guide gently-giving your trust, encouragement and congratulations along the way. Sometimes all they need is for someone else to believe in them before they believe in themselves.

The gift of optimism. Children and teens can often feel overloaded or overwhelmed by situations and events. Teach your child that every situation can be overcome. Learn about self-talk, and to focus on what you have, rather than what is missing-letting go of "what should be". It has been rightly said, "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."

The gift of humour. Children laugh all the time, but later in life we sometimes lose the ability to find the lighter side of situations. Show your kids it's OK not to take themselves too seriously. Nothing reduces stress, or can change your attitude faster than a smile or good giggle-such is the power of laughter.

While we'll continue to buy gifts for our kids, let's make sure the six above are also given along the way. They may not be as exciting to receive as the latest game or toy, but as our children grow older and reflect on their lives, they will be truly thankful to have received them.

©2005 Rob Stringer.com - Reprinted with permission

Award-winning educator, speaker and author, Rob Stringer coaches and assists parents with his upbeat approach to learning, and parenting. For more ideas, resources or workshop information, visit http://www.RobStringer.com or call (905) 544-1938 today.

In The News:

Mom’s Post About Parenting That Calls For A Mix Of ‘Mary Poppins And The Hulk’ Is Going Viral  SimplemostParents know that raising kids requires a delicate balancing act. Depending on the situation, you may have to utilize a host of different and seemingly opposing ...
Pink claps back at troll who criticized her husband's parenting skills  Today ShowPink has zero patience for the internet shame police — and she's letting them know it again in a epic clap back. When a nasty commenter accused Pink's hubby, ...
Pink rips fan for questioning Carey Hart's parenting skills: 'Are you even a parent?'  USA TODAYSinger Pink is seeing red after an Instagram commenter came for her husband Carey Hart. Hart, 43, became a target after sharing photos Sunday of the couple's ...
Connections: Discussing free-range parenting and unstructured play  WXXI NewsThe mayor of Ithaca has declared the city to be a “free range kids city.” Mayor Svante Myrick says he believes in the power of play, and Ithaca's.
Patience and Parenting  The Good Men ProjectMy sons are in a fun stage of life right now. My first grader comes home from school every day full of new knowledge and social interactions. He's bursting at the ...
20 Times 'Teen Mom' Stars Rocked at Co-Parenting  CafeMomWhile not all the 'Teen Mom' stars are still together with their kids' dad, they still know how to co-parent the right way.
On Cultural and Technological Parenting  ForbesWhat are the lessons we can learn from the uses of media and public debate that the Ohio father, Matt Cox, who made his daughter walk to school five miles ...
Study: Biggest modern parenting challenge is monitoring child's online activity  WXYZ DetroitA University of Michigan study found that most parents would agree monitoring what their child is doing online is one of the biggest modern parenting ...
How one parent helped change the conversation around parenting with a disability  ABC LifeOver the past two months, the series We've Got This has broken down barriers and challenged the misconceptions around parenting with disability.
Every Time Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell Got Real About Parenting  Us WeeklyDax Shepard and Kristen Bell have been especially open about their experiences parenting daughters Lincoln and Delta — see more.
Get Great Parenting Tips While You Parent in the Morning  FatherlyIn the chaos of the morning — in between spilled milk and changed diapers — who has time or emotional bandwidth for the news? How about a little advice from ...
Pink claps back at Instagram parenting critics with sassy message  9HoneyPink has no time for parenting critics. On Thursday, the singer shared an Instagram photo of her son Jameso...
What is Parallel Parenting, and Why It Could Work for You  Raise Vegan Divorce is tough and parenting together after a divorce is even tougher. Some divorced couples seem to be able to manage co-parenting quite successfully on ...
Mom and Dad Are Fighting: “Welcome to the Man Cave” Edition  SlateRebecca is not here because of hiking.
"Art of Parenting" classes available - Manistee News  Manistee News AdvocateBLAINE TWP — Blaine Christian Church invites families in our community to come to an eight week study called the “Art Of Parenting.” Classes will be taught ...
The trick to parenting independent teens requires more than just rules  Aleteia EN"How to raise an independent child with the right values," a video talk by Dr. Justin Coulson, inspires a discussion on effective strategies for parenting teens.
Is there a parenting crisis in Kenya?  The StandardHeightening inflation, globalisation, conflicts, wars and modernity have had a significant impact on the family and more so parent-child relationships.
Sex Education and Parenting: What We Know  Psychology TodayThere is clear evidence that the foundations for sex education comes from parents and guardians at home.
Woman begs Facebook to stop showing her parenting ads after baby’s death — here’s how to avoid upsetting ads  MarketWatchYou can adjust your own advertising to avoid sensitive topics.
These Dads Show The Internet What Parenting Actually Looks Like  catcountry1073.comA father forces his child to walk to school after being kicked off the bus for bullying. Child abuse or good old fashioned discipline?
The Most Magical Word in Parenting  Psychology TodayThere's this one word—a magical little one—that lets us parents balance for our children so much complexity in a single sentiment. It's not our typical go-to words ...
Family: The Parenting Traps  Richmond magazineThere's nothing like the magic of the holiday season with little ones. Each twinkling light is a little more magical. Each carol sounds a little lovelier, every cup of ...
My Son Is a Disgusting Slob at the Dinner Table  SlateCare and Feeding is Slate's parenting advice column. Have a question for Care and Feeding? Email [email protected] or post it in the Slate Parenting ...
This Family’s Hilariously Chaotic Christmas Cards Show The Realities Of Parenting  Someecards NewsIf you have a refrigerator, it's likely it's decorated with at least one family Christmas card that shows a pristinely groomed family wearing monochrome outfits and ...
Make sure you correct your child's language in time | Parenting Tips | ABP News Videos  ABP LivePawan Sinha suggests that one must remain alert while their children talk. Make sure they do not use bad or wrong words while addressing someone. Pointing ...
Connections: Parenting LGBTQ youth  WXXI NewsA debate erupted over social media when pop culture reporter and Billy Eichner advised parents-to-be to consider how they would react if they found out.
Should Ohio divorce courts follow same standard in setting shared parenting?  The Columbus DispatchIdeally, couples who are separating or divorcing come up with a parenting-time schedule agreeable to all parties. But when they don't, Ohio judges might turn to ...
Top 10 Worst Helicopter Parenting Moments of 2018 - Hit & Run : Reason.com  ReasonVadreams / DreamstimeKidnapping, Halloween, and snowballs—in 2018, we freaked out about each of these things and many others. Here are the year's ten ...
The Most Pointless Parenting Advice I've Received From Strangers In Public  RomperBeing a parent is hard. With the best preparation and resources and support, it's still a series of fumbling through until you sort of find your groove. And even that ...
Parenting in the Present: 8 Questions Effective Parents Ask Regularly  PsychCentral.comParenting is a demanding role and one that requires constant reflection and adaptation. Children change and what worked in one stage of development most ...
Report questions inequities in Ohio parenting plans; standards debated  Massillon IndependentThose standard, or default plans, vary widely by county. And too many of them — in more than 60 of 88 counties — reflect outdated approaches.
8 maternity clothing brands for moms-to-be to check out  The Indian ExpressWith a constant change in a pregnant woman's body shape and size, proper maternity outfits are a must-have for every mom-to-be to ensure she remains ...
Is your baby ready for solid food? Follow this checklist  The Indian ExpressBy Dr Seema Khanna. Advertising. Completing six months is one of the biggest milestones for a baby as well the new mother because it's time to start ...
How to break the news of divorce to kids  The Indian ExpressWhen you break the news to your children that you are planning to go your separate ways, handle these conversations with maturity. Take care to find the right ...
PARENTING: Gratitude yields health and social benefits  Sarasota Herald-TribuneWith Thanksgiving having passed, we may want a jump start on our New Year's resolutions. Research shows such a long list of health and social benefits that ...
Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Falchuk Have 'Different Parenting Styles'  In Touch WeeklyGwyneth Paltrow and Brad Falchuk live separately even though they're married because their parenting styles are different.
Woman demands change from tech sites like Facebook, Instagram after receiving parenting ads after stillbirth  Yahoo NewsPost a photo of a baby on Facebook and you'll see ads for diapers, toys and more, or purchase a gift for a friend's new baby and you'll start getting ads for baby ...
Short story for kids: How did the kheer go missing?  The Indian ExpressWhile Mira's father goes to the market to buy raisins, the kheer he was cooking disappears. Who ate up the kheer while he was away?
The digital age of parenting, made in Mexico  Aztec Reports“My pregnancy tracking app shows me which fruit size the baby is now”, one of my millennial-born friends and mother-to-be told me the other day – followed by ...
When Parenting Styles Clash  WBBM NewsRadioSometimes parents may have different parenting styles and that normally isn't a bad thing. It is OK to occasionally disagree on smaller issues. AddThis Sharing ...
Parenting: should you raise independent children the 'Swiss' way?  The Local SwitzerlandWhen a ten-year-old boy went missing for a couple of hours in Basel in November his mother was quick to post a photo and a plea for help on the Basel Expat ...
Dear Parents, Don't Blame 'Fortnite' For Your Bad Parenting And Lazy Kids  ForbesParents are worried that Fortnite is causing their kids to fail at school. Instead of rehab, maybe try some good old-fashioned parenting.
PARENTING: What does gratitude look like?  Sarasota Herald-TribuneHaving celebrated Thanksgiving, this is the time of year when our nation starts paying attention to gratitude. We ask our kids to count their blessings and think of ...
How parenting affects antisocial behaviors in children  EurekAlertWashington, DC, December 4, 2018. Less parental warmth and more harshness in the home environment can affect how aggressive children become and ...
Babytalk: Parenting for Legends - Babytalk  ABC NewsAre we spending too much time worrying not enough time enjoying how wonderful it is to be a parent? Shannon Kelly White has 'Parenting for Legends' to help ...
Inmates Get Parenting Lessons in Jail's Father Boot Camp  Spectrum NewsClasses teach nurturing, and loving without violence.
Sophie Ellis Bextor insists she doesn't get parenting right all the time  Daily MailSophie Ellis-Bextor, 39, who is expecting her fifth child, has insisted she still has a lot to learn when it comes to parenting with her musician husband Richard ...
Parenting NI expert offer advice on how to have a happy family Christmas  The Irish NewsHow should parents deal with explaining who Father Christmas is, while still keeping Christmas magical? Father Christmas brings festive magic to households ...
How I Told My Kids I Have Cancer  FatherlyI was diagnosed with cancer two months ago. Breaking the news to my young children was going to be tough, but I knew it needed to be done. Here's how I did ...
Chosen One of the Day: Bowser's parenting skills  SYFY WIREBetween his day job of menacing the Mushroom Kingdom and his many, many extracurricular activities, it can be easy to forget that Bowser has an actually ...
Billy Eichner Explains Parenting An LGBTQ Child In One Perfect & Poignant Tweet  RomperFor those of you who might not have heard, comedian Kevin Hart has been having something of a moment — and it's not a great one. The wildly popular ...
Ellen DeGeneres' Parenting Joke Gives Ashton Kutcher a Complex  E! OnlineThe host teases the actor and his 2-year-old son who never walks.
PARENTING: Helping kids manage relationships  Sarasota Herald-TribuneOur relationships are one of the most important aspects of our lives. Great relationships with our family, at work, at school and in the community usually translate ...
Mandy McCracken on parenting with disability and her 'wonderfully exciting' future  ABC NewsIn 2013, Mandy McCracken was a self-described "stay-at-home mum" with three daughters under the age of 10, when she got a blood infection. It led to sepsis, ...
How mediocre parenting keeps me sane over the holidays  The Week Magazine"We have come to banish darkness," begins a popular Hebrew children's song for the holiday. Once day turns to night, earlier and chillier than a mere few weeks ...
Timeouts are a dated and ineffective parenting strategy. So what’s a good alternative?  The Spokesman-ReviewParenting experts have criticized the timeout technique in recent years, saying that it might neglect a child's emotional needs. Most experts agree that ...
Eliza Hull on parenting with a disability  ABC LifeEliza Hull has spoken with other parents with a disability for her audio series We've Got This.
'Parenting carelessly comes at a high cost'  Virginia Gazette1 Corinthians 4:2 (NLT) Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful. In parenting we must always be on alert to the “true” needs of our ...
Is God part of good parenting?  CBC.caThis story is part of Amy Bell's column "Parental Guidance" that airs on CBC Radio One's The Early Edition. Raised without religion, I took my parents views on ...
Parenting Education Project to be Expanded  Government of Jamaica, Jamaica Information ServiceMinister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, says the Parenting Education Project will be expanded to reach more ...
Coast Line: Triple P Parenting seminar set Dec. 10 in Watsonville  Santa Cruz SentinelTriple P Parenting will teach the seminar “Raising Confident, Competent Children” from 6-7:30 p.m. Monday at the La Manzana Community Resources, 18 W.
The challenge of parenting in a migrant caravan  The Conversation - CanadaThe psychological health of migrant children will be deeply impacted by their flight from gang violence, and the experience of crowded unhygienic conditions ...
The parenting years haven’t flown by, actually. But here’s why I’m glad.  Washington PostI wouldn't trade these heavy-duty parenting years because they've changed all of us, and made us who we are.
Positive Parenting: Sharing stories matters  WQAD MolineWhen you sit down to read or tell a story with your child, who takes the lead?
Parenting with the end result in mind  Montgomery AdvertiserWhat would change in our parenting if we could see the future adults in these little people we are raising?
Kate Middleton & Prince William Just Used Their Signature Parenting Move During Their Latest Outing  PureWowKate Middleton and Prince William visited the Evelina London Children's Hospital orthopaedic and spinal surgery unit and used their parenting hack.
Never Look Too Good Or Talk Too Smart--Part II--Parenting Superpower  ForbesWho would you rather follow: someone who pretends to be perfect (when you know they're not), or someone who's made the same kinds of mistakes you ...
Harsh parenting can be buffered by warm relationships with teachers, peers  Channel NewsAsia(Reuters Health) - - Children whose parents often threaten and criticize them are more likely to become defiant and aggressive, research shows.
Yes, There's Such a Thing as Accidentally Getting Your Kid Too Many Presents, Just Ask Melissa...  POPSUGAR AustraliaAs a fiscally responsible Christmas-lover who's known for having all her decorations up promptly on Nov. 1, I have to admit that my holiday shopping begins way.
New urban parenting: Are 24-hour care homes the answer?  The ObserverI found my baby [then] five months old with a clot in the eye. Five months! At five months, a child cannot talk, cannot really do something harmful to the maid but I ...
An app for making parenting easier  QuartzAn app has arrived that focuses on parent's well being, not being better parents.
Hamish Blake: parenting book Raising Girls  KidspotThe Blakes seem like pretty good parents. Here's where they get their advice.
On Parenting: Meghan Leahy took your questions about parenting  Washington PostMeghan Leahy, a parenting coach with Positively Parenting, joined On Parenting editor Amy Joyce to talk about parenting children of all ages. Amy Joyce.
Resolve to never use corporal punishment | Parenting With Pete  NJ.comSpanking children crosses a threshold that permits violence against children even if that violence is minimal.
Different Parenting Styles & Friendships  FOX 31 DenverDifferent Parenting Styles & Friendships http://www.thecurrycenterllc.com/ ...
Indiana father writes book on 'Bare Minimum Parenting'  WTHRINDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - If you're a parent, you've probably wondered once or twice whether you're doing the right things when it comes to raising your kids.
Can We Just Admit the Playground Is Parenting Hell?  ELLE.comIf you're a childless person who is fond of the idea of children, chances are you have walked past your local playground, peered inside, and smiled. Who can ...
Reese Witherspoon's tough love approach to parenting  ABC NewsWhen it comes to parenting, Reese Witherspoon believes in full transparency.
'Panic parenting' fear drives women to freeze eggs  Chicago TribuneTrying to avoid "panic parenting" — having a relationship just to have a baby — is the reason why many single women freeze their eggs for non-medical reasons ...
What is Kate Middleton and Prince William's Biggest Parenting Challenge They're Facing Now?  The Cheat SheetThe Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have revealed what their biggest parenting challenge is now in raising their three children.
The Only 15 Best Parenting Books Worth Your Money  GoodHousekeeping.comIf the idea of raising a kid without some guidance seems daunting, these parenting books will get you through. These best books for new moms and dads will ...
Parenting Time Center opens all new Teen Room  14 News WFIE EvansvilleEVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - The new teen room at Evansville's Parenting Time Center is officially open. Mayor Winneke and several other community leaders were ...
The top 'experience gifts' to give children this holiday season  CTV NewsInstead of the usual toys and clothing, parenting experts are encouraging families to give the gift of experiences to create lasting memories with their children.
Ant Middleton's SAS guide to surviving parenting  HeartParents with young kids might want to take some tough love advice from SAS: Who Dares Wins star Ant Middleton.
Positive Parenting: Do parents play favorites?  WQAD MolineIf you're a parent you've heard it before, when one of your kids gets something from you --- money or a present, even a Slurpee from 7-11, your other child ...
The Elf on the Shelf is everything that's wrong with modern parenting.  MamamiaI have flour in my hair. All day I've been pretending that it's dry shampoo, but it's not. Last night at 11pm, I dumped a pile flour onto a plate and squatted down to ...
Perhaps bad parenting was involved in shooting death of 7-year-old  Baltimore SunWe need to look at the parents in the killing of 7-year-old Taylor Hayes.
The judgmental mom is little more than a stereotype  CNNAre moms really so judgmental? If not, where does this stereotype come from and why is it so hard to shake?
Parenting Won't Be Like Anything You Imagined. It Can't Be.  RomperThis weekend I tried to sync my phone and I couldn't because it was too full of photos. Pictures of me, twice hugely pregnant. Thousands of pictures and videos ...
Less Is More in Swim Parenting  SwimSwamYour kids will be happy, well-adjusted, self-sufficient and swim about the same or better than if you are overly involved.
‘The Bachelor’ Alum Catherine Lowe Shares a Simple Trick to Get a Baby to Stop Crying  Us Weekly'The Bachelor' alum Catherine Lowe opened up to Us Weekly about how she gets her sons Samuel and Isaiah to stop crying — watch the video.
On Parenting: Meghan Leahy takes your questions about parenting  Washington PostMeghan Leahy, a parenting coach with Positively Parenting will join On Parenting editor Amy Joyce to talk about parenting children of all ages. Chat starts on ...
Why DNA may matter more than parenting — and what that means for society  SalonParents obviously matter tremendously in their children's lives. They provide the essential physical and psychological ingredients for children's development.
Parenting praised after young girl writes touching apology letter to the police  Warrington GuardianTHE parents of an eight-year-old child who ran away from home but then wrote a letter to the police apologising have been praised online for their…
Parenting: Melatonin may help you sleep. But is it safe for kids?  Charleston Post CourierAn estimated 419000 U.S. children now use melatonin, almost five times as many as in 2007.
Know Your Monument: The Sun Temple at Konark  The Indian ExpressIn the fifth edition of this series on Indian monuments by Sahapedia, we look at the magnificent Sun Temple of Konark. Built in the 13th century, this tribute to ...
Parenting with a disability — talkback - Life Matters  ABC NewsIn this episode of our series, We've got this: Parenting with a Disability, we take calls from those of you with lived experience as either children of parents with a ...
SPORTS PARENTING: Injury or fatigue is always a tough call  The Providence JournalWe sports fans love the gamers, the gutsy athletes who play through pain to help their team to victory.Think Curt Schilling and his bloody sock (not 38 Studios), ...
What Is Permissive Parenting? - Experts Explain Permissive Parenting  GoodHousekeeping.comWhile permissive parents are often very responsive and loving, this parenting style is defined by having no rules. The term was developed by psychologist Diana ...
ASK AMY: Dad sings ballad of regret over his parenting  Toronto SunDear Amy: I am a 71-year-old man, retired and happily married for 44 years.We have a son, age 45, and a daughter, age 43.Do you remember the Harry Chapin ...

Why Scrapbooking Moms are the Secret Weapon in the War on Terror

There is a front line and a back end to... Read More

7 Powerful Ways to Show Love to Children

Our children are our most important legacy to the world.... Read More

Secrets from the Classroom: Avoiding Summer Learning Loss

In June, elementary school children across North America cheered as... Read More

Why Creativity and Self-Expression are Important to Little Kids

Can you draw a straight line? Most adults don't consider... Read More

We All Wish That Our Children Have Good Virtues, But... Are We Setting A Good Example Ourselves?

We all wish that our children should not smoke or... Read More

Who Are You When the Professional In You Meets Baby?

Are you a professional?Notice how the questions differs from, "Do... Read More

Top 25 Children Quotations

"You can learn many things from children. How much patience... Read More

Time Managment Skills for Children

Time management is an organisational concept traditionally associated with adults... Read More

Raising Teenagers? Stay C.A.L.M.

Parents of teenagers frequently ask what can be done to... Read More

How to Create an Attitude of Cooperation

Having been a parent educator and a PBS consultant for... Read More

My Children

I have been a single mom for almost 20 years.... Read More

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream, But Not For Ice Cream!

We all scream for ice cream. Or, we don't, at... Read More

Child Safety at Home

Maintaining a safe home environment for your childrenAs adults and... Read More

Watch Your Language! - How Parents Can Help Kids Help Themselves

'I felt great until I walked into the classroom -... Read More

Effects of Jealousy on Childs Personality

Dear friends here we will charge up our mind with... Read More

Violence in Media

In the news, we hear and see an increasing number... Read More

Awesome Dads Top Ten Communication Intentions

An Awesome Dad in by no means perfect. But that... Read More

Teach Your Children About the Importance of Water

The Flow of WaterWater is essential for life on the... Read More

13 Ways to Spend Time with Your Teenage Daughter

The older my daughter gets the more it's sinking in... Read More

The Secrets To Improving Childrens Behaviour

Most parents at some stage are driven to distraction by... Read More

Build Character with this Delicious Triple A Recipe!

Vinegar or honey, what do kids really want? "Toys, candy,... Read More

Getting through the School Daze

It's back to school time again. Does the thought of... Read More

What You Can Learn About Life From Your Children

You can learn a lot from children.The best part of... Read More

5 Solid Reasons: Why Your Child Can Be An Achiever

All of us, including your child, entered this world equipped... Read More

Playground Pettiness

Recently I took my two children to a popular new... Read More