Forget the iPhone, Nike trainers and tickets to see the latest boy band, because the children soon will! The really important things that parents give their children are the ones that they will love, cherish and use for the rest of lives. Strangely though, some parents seem to forget these free gifts that are so important, the amazing gifts that your children will never forget:
- Motivation and encouragement
Everyone needs to know when they have done well, especially children. A simple ‘well done’ and a few words of encouragement, when they don’t quite make it, will give them the courage to keep trying and that attitude will stay with them into later life.
- A thankful heart
Teaching them to be grateful now, for what they have, will help to make them appreciate things when they get older too.
- Good manners
It’s an old fashioned one, but it really does pay off in adult life, when you know how to behave in public. Someday they are going to want find a boyfriend or girlfriend, and they will definitely thank you that you taught them the basics of good manners then.
- Basic boundaries
We have to live within boundaries when we are grown up, so why not teach your kids this now. Giving them basic, consistent boundaries makes it easier for kids to understand what they can and cannot do and then, when they overstep the mark, they will know why.
- Laughter and fun
Laughing with your kids can take you back to your own childhood, so learning to laugh with them is good for you, as well as for them. Don’t be too stuffy and serious all the time; you can be a good parent and a fun one as well.
- Encouraging them to have dreams
So he wants to be an astronaut and she’s going to be a ballerina, let them have their dreams, you never know, they might even come true! Encouraging children to aim for the top is never a bad thing and, if they can achieve more than you have, then that’s something that you can be proud of.
- A good discipline
They may not always thank you for it now, but they will do when they get older. Teach them now, that there are consequences to their actions, and it will help to keep them out of trouble later.
- Honesty and trustworthiness
Every kid is going to say the immortal words, ‘honestly mum, I didn’t do it’, a few times in their childhood, but they will be glad that you taught them the benefits of owning up to mistakes and learning to say ‘sorry’.
- Room to be an individual
You may hate your teenaged daughter’s new hair colour and makeup choice, but they all need the room to find out who they are. Those teenage, rebellion (within reason) years will be something that they remember forever.
- Sharing and caring
The importance of sharing is another important lesson that kids have to learn and when they share their candy with their brother or sister, they are learning a lesson that will reap rewards for them in the future.
- Hugs and tenderness
It’s a crying shame that some kids grow up not feeling loved, simply because their parents are unable to express themselves. Kids need hugs and kisses, and it will help to teach them not to be afraid to express themselves better when they are adults.
- Hope, belief and perseverance
Believing that things can get better, is something we all need to know how to do sometimes. It teaches us to be strong and to persevere, and it makes us into stronger people.
- Reading books and learning new things
Get your kids into the reading habit and it will be gift that they always remember. It doesn’t matter if it’s comic books or the Bible, so long as they read! You can learn so much more form reading, than watching the TV and they will learn something from just about everything they read.
- Creativity and self expression
Get your hands dirty with your kids and make something. A car made from a cardboard box or butterfly mosaic, all crafts and building work help to get a child’s brain working and they also create some golden memories too.
- Your ear!
Whatever their age, they still have a point of view on things and loads of questions to ask. Making time for children to talk and, paying attention to what they have to say, will help to build their confidence and teach them not be afraid to speak up.
- A true friendship
Some people would argue that a good parent can’t be a friend, but what child ever forgets fishing with his father or shopping with her mother? That’s the kind of friendship that a parent can give.
- Security and stability
A child should never be frightened in his own home or worried where his next meal will come from. Sadly, for some kids, these things are a fact of life, but we should do all we can to protect them from these worries, even if that means telling a few white lies sometimes.
A child has curiosity, from the day that it is born, but whether or not you nurture that curiosity is your choice. Do you take the time to answer their questions, or do you say, ‘I’m too busy right now?’ If you encourage their curiosity, then that is something that will stay with them for life and, questioning what is going on around you, is what leads you to learn.
- Eating meals together
There is no better opportunity to share in each other’s lives, than at mealtimes. Debates about anything and everything can begin and, to a child, that is a fine opportunity to learn and to be able to express themselves.
- Appreciate the Earth and love nature
Learning to appreciate nature and the world around them is another gift that you can give to a child. So, they get muddy and they graze their knees, but at least they will understand that there is more to life on this planet, than the play station and the TV.
- Playing an instrument and loving music
A child violin playing may well sound like two cates fighting in the dark, but slowly, gradually, they will gain an appreciation of music that will stay with them for ever. Their choice of music may not be to your taste, but music is music, whatever form it comes in.
- A sense of pride, achievement and good ambition
Don’t forget to celebrate their achievements, however small they may appear to be. A sense of pride will give them the incentive to achieve more, and there is nothing wrong with that.
- A sense of self esteem and self confidence
Never run a child down or that memory will become a lasting one. Kids make mistakes, we all do, but if you teach them to learn from their mistakes and don’t belittle them for it, they will become far more courageous people in the future.
- Encouraging them to take opportunities and grow
Children need opportunities to be able to thrive; opportunities to try new things, opportunities to explore and, yes, even opportunities to fail. This is how they learn what they like and what they are good at and it gives them a chance to grow.
- Time to be a child
Don’t expect kids to grow up too soon, they won’t thank you for that. Everyone wants their children to do well in life, but you can push children too hard, too soon. Give them a chance to let them enjoy their childhood, they only get one.
- Good deeds and acts of kindness
Be kind to children and they will be kind to others. It really is that simple, children copy their parents and they will be repaid for their own kindness, when they grow older.
Even children deserve respect, because they are human beings too. If a child is shown respect then they will remember that and they will show other people respect in return.
- Passion and enthusiasm
People who have passion will work harder and achieve more. If you encourage a child’s passion for a hobby or a pastime, then they will learn to use that enthusiasm in later life too.
- Determination and perseverance
Even teaching a child to keep on trying, when they fall of their bike, is an important lesson learned. Life isn’t all plain sailing and, sometimes, we just have to keep on trying until will succeed.
- Share their sense of wonder
Children have an incredible sense of wonder at the world around them. Everything is amazing, incredible and awesome and they want to share that with their parents. Go the extra mile to make Christmas amazing, birthdays unbelievable and holidays something really special and they will remember those moments for a lifetime.
- Unconditional love
The greatest gift of all that you can ever give a child is love. They might pester you for expensive gifts, or the latest ‘in thing’, but that’s not what they will remember. The latest fashion accessory will be out of fashion within a matter of months and discarded at the back of the wardrobe. A loving and caring family will be with them forever.
What other gifts good parents can give to their kids? Feel free to share your thoughts.