The most valuable gifts your child will ever receive are the ones that cannot be bought with money. Your children can have an abundance of material possessions, but without the following, your child will forever be short-changed.
- Stability and Security. Consistency, predictability, and dependability: these practices build children’s sense of stability. Secure children feel safe and confident to deal with life’s challenges.
- Fun and Laughter. Never miss a chance for spontaneous family fun. It’s never a waste of time to enjoy each other.
- A Purpose. “What do you want to be when you grow up? A fireman, a doctor, a dancer?” To provide your child with a sense of purpose is to instill in them the truth that they are unique, special, and valued for their natural abilities. Everyone has something to offer: gifts and talents that can be used to improve the world around them. What a gift to know you are more than just your own wants and needs.
- Hope and Optimism. Through words and actions, project enthusiasm. Even when life circumstances are not ideal, teach your children that tomorrow is a new day and anything is possible. Take time together to cherish life and all the beauty, magic, and love it offers.
- A Moral Compass. Standards for behavior and making ethical choices are learned best from parents. The golden rule of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” may sound old fashioned, but it’s never out of style.
- The Attitude of Gratitude. No one likes a selfish ungrateful child or adult. Start young by training your children to say, “Thank you” for whatever they receive, whether a favor or gift. Get involved with charities and guide your children into volunteer work. Working to help those less fortunate can be a life changing experience.
- Compassion. Toddlers have a difficult time with empathy and compassion because they are not developmentally capable of putting themselves in another’s place. Once a child reaches preschool age it is time to develop emotional language. Acknowledge and name feelings. Let them see you actively making a difference in someone’s life.
- Self Control. Teach your child healthy ways to cope with frustration, anger, and disappointment. Model restraint when dealing with your child’s behavior and other stressful situations. Don’t over-indulge in food, drink, or any pleasurable activity that gets in the way of responsible parenting.
- Healthy Habits. Self-care routines like washing hands, brushing teeth, nutritious eating, and looking both ways before crossing a street are ordinary but important habits parents can encourage in their children.