Many of us struggle with the right gifts to give our children around the holidays. It’s fun to give them gifts that light up their faces and they enjoy. The things, as we all know, tend to be temporary and won’t last all year. There is something, however, that will be a gift that you can give your children all year long and that will last a lifetime.
The gift of appreciation
Communicating to your children everyday what you appreciate about them is a practice that will build and encourage them as well as train them to become appreciative of who they are and what they have in their lives.
The definition of appreciate is: to recognize the full worth of. What if we were communicating regularly that our children are fully worth it, just because?
Here are some ways to do that:
- Note how they belong to the family: “You’ve got my eyes and Daddy’s chin.”
- Step back and look at them like you did when they were newborns, what do you see?
- Perhaps a strong sense of humor, or a desire to figure things out, tell them your observations: “Your curiosity will help you learn a lot.” or “I enjoy laughing with you!”
- Acknowledge their contribution: “You setting the table tonight gave us a nice place to eat together as a family.”
- Make observations about their strengths: “You know how to look at an argument from many viewpoints!” or “I notice how generous you are when sharing your snack with your friend.”
- Express your confidence in them: “I know this is hard and I’ve seen you handle hard things before, I know you can do it”.
There are so many adults driven by the question in their own minds of whether they are worth it or not. Let’s help our children see that they are not defined by their accomplishments, or only how they behave, that they are appreciated just because and we appreciate and love them for who they are, not only what they do. That’s the greatest and longest lasting gift we can give.