Thoughts from the team
Give time not just gifts this Christmas
You’ve heard it time and again: “Family is your biggest asset” and the most valuable thing in your life. And if you’re a parent or guardian, it’s important to remember that the others in the family also think the same of you. If you were to ask them to choose between getting a Christmas gift that can be wrapped and quality time with you, I bet they’ll choose to spend time with you.
Why spend time with family during the holiday season?
The benefits of spending time with your loved ones are endless:
They’ll feel wanted: If your loved ones always feel that you’re not around at Christmas, they’ll feel that they’re not your priority. Give them the attention they crave. It doesn't have to be anything extraordinary, simply one on one undivided time dedicated to them.
You’ll get to know each other better: Whenever you’re with your loved ones, encourage conversation so you can get to know what they love, their pet peeves, their dreams and their fears. Being heard means a lot to little people too!
Your relationships will get stronger: When a loved one feels like they belong in a loving family, they connect with you better, trust you to be in their corner, and so can develop a stronger friendship with you.
You’ll support each other better: As you start to get to know what’s going on in your loved ones’ lives, it becomes easier to tell when they’re unhappy, and most importantly how to help them. Knowing that you can count on your family for support also makes it a lot easier to handle the challenges you encounter.
You’ll help them be good citizens: It all starts at home, right? If you want to teach your kids the important life values, influence them to become good people and guide them along the right path, then you can only do this if you spend more time with them.
You’ll help them feel stronger, safer and happier: You’ll notice how your loved ones start to change. They’ll gain more confidence in themselves, become more fun and more open with you, and they might start smiling, joking and laughing more than before. That’s because when they see that you cherish them, they feel safe enough to trust that things have changed for the better.
Ways to spend time with family this Christmas
Now that you know how your family can benefit from quality time together, here are some simple things you can do to spend time with them:
1. Put your mobile devices away so phone calls and social media don’t become a priority. Focus on your loved ones instead.
2. Organise a family meal that brings everyone together and encourages conversation.
3. Plan a day out and let the youngest family member choose where to go and what you do there or if possible take time for each child just one on one for a few hours/morning/afternoon.
4. Do outdoor activities to help you bond and learn more about each person and what they can do.
5. Read Christmas stories together to help the little ones learn more about the world around them and how to treat other people kindly.
6. Let your loved ones cook and bake with you so they can learn your favourite Christmas recipes. Don't stress about the mess or the end result. The younger the messier and less delectable an outcome - just be careful who they offer their baked delights too if there are a few too many egg shells in there!
7. Start a ‘family garden’ and when the garden starts looking pretty, you’ll remember how much fun you had doing this together.
8. Help the kids create Christmas presents for relatives and friends. This way, they’ll learn new skills while learning about the things other people love.
With all of these tips: remember that kids often have very short attention spans so do not be disheartened that the activity may often take more time to plan or set up that their little brains will actually spend doing them. Take breaks for their buzzy little bodies to process everything and pick it up later or just call it a day and basque in the memories you have made!
Share your ideas with us
What are some of the ways you prefer to spend with the special people in your life? I’d love to hear about it. Pop over to our Facebook page to share your tips with us.