Parents Corner

Christmas calls for Joy and Connection


Have you finished your Christmas shopping? Haven’t started? Got a few bits and pieces?

A Dad said to me recently that he was getting so stressed about Christmas. He’s a single Dad raising three boys and he can’t afford much. I asked him what his stress was achieving and he said that he wasn’t getting much joy from life.

I asked what his kids really needed, and he replied “a Dad that’s not stressed and that is there for them”. Kids need a parent that is present to their needs every day, not a parent that has a sack load of presents on Christmas Day.

Sometimes parents think that buying expensive “educational” toys make their children do better academically.

Children don’t need stuff, they need you. Research has shown that children learn more in social interaction with caring, interested, and more knowledgeable others. The more that parents talk with (not talk at) their children the better they do socially, emotionally, and academically.

So your child will learn more from sitting down with you with a world atlas poster that cost you $1, and exploring and chatting about what you both see and know, than she will from the electronic world globe toy that cost you 120 bucks.

Those plastic toys will cause more mess and stress, and will sooner or later end up in landfill, but the gift of your time and energy with your children will last a lifetime.

I’ve seen this little poem doing the rounds. It is such a simple, lovely thing…

  • “Something they want
  • Something they need
  • Something to wear, and
  • Something to read.”

The “something they need” could be a bit tricky. They might think they need the latest electronic thing-a-ma-jig. Or you may think you need to give it to them to prove your love for them. Ask yourself if the “gift” is going to create connection or disconnection? So many parents I speak to regret purchasing the electronic thing that has caused their child to become more isolated and withdrawn and then had the battle over having to place limits on it.
Wishing you much joy and connection this holiday season.

Article Written + Submitted by

Narelle Smith | Family Practitioner




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