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:

Pandemic Parenting  Psychology Today
Parenting in the digital world  The Express Tribune
Parenting in the Pandemic – Jamaica Information Service  Government of Jamaica, Jamaica Information Service
Parenting for Lifelong Health (PLH)  World Health Organization

The Neurology of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Part One

What is Happening in the brain of children, teens, and... Read More

Parenting Your Teenager: 4 Dangerous Myths

MYTH: All teens have to rebel, and the teen years... Read More

Top 10 Mistakes by New and Expectant Dads

From criticizing a spouse, to claming up about one's own... Read More

How Often Does Child Sexual Abuse Get Reported?

Not nearly as often as it should. Most child abuse... Read More

Parenting Your Teenager: 6 Tips for Dealing with Bad Report Cards

One of the basic issues we need to understand is... Read More

Anorexia Nervosa Alert - is Your Daughter Dying To Be Thin?

Anorexia nervosa is a serious medical disorder that is statistically... Read More

Illegal and Legal Drug Usage in the United States

How bad is the illegal drug problem here in the... Read More

Teach Your Children - Without Them Knowing They Are Learning!

The great thing about children is they absorb knowledge like... Read More

Why Wont My Teens Clean Their Room?

Have you ever had this struggle with your teens? Did... 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

Protect your Kids Early with Safety Glasses

What exactly makes safety glasses different from regular glasses? There... Read More

New Mom...New Baby...New Debt?

Ah, there is nothing like being an expectant mom. Along... Read More

Book Review: How to Get Your Child to Love Reading

How to Get Your Child to Love Reading was conceived... Read More

Real Monsters Under Your Bed

There may really be a real monster under your kidâ??s... Read More

3 Rules to Making TeensTechnology Work For You

Isn't the technology of today is amazing?! Between the speed... Read More

Aptitude, Achievement, Processing Deficit - What Does It All Mean?

You are sitting with the professionals who know about learning... Read More

Twins - Double The Trouble Or Double The Pleasure? Both!

If You're Having Twins..is it double the headache, or double... Read More

Ritalin (Methylphenidate) in the Treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Ritalin is a good medication with a bad reputation. Its... Read More

Help My Preteen/Teenager is Driving Me Nuts!

Do you feel like someone has abducted your sweet, innocent... Read More

A Little Love, Please?

Article based on a friend's experienceI just wanted to share... Read More

Refresher Course on Diapering for Dads

It's among the top criticism wives have of their husbands:... Read More

Quality Time with Your Teen

It's sometimes difficult to find ways to be involved with... Read More

Thirteen Values You Can Teach Through Homework

Are you a parent concerned about passing values on to... Read More

How To Teach Children Loyalty and Dependability

Individualism is a common thing in today's modern society. Many... Read More

Parenting Your Adolescent: 3 Powerful Steps to Being an In-Charge Parent

Q. How do I overcome the 16-year-old who does things... Read More