human psychology7 Christmas gifts to build connection with your child - Mihaela Plugarasu, M.S.

15 December 2018
woman and child playing in snow
Photo by Victoria Borodinova on Pexels.com

Dear awesome parent who is reading this post,
You feel tired. Exhausted. Depleted. You feel there is no time left for anything. You find yourself losing your mind over endless shopping lists, Christmas trees ( fake or real?), presents, family dinner, travel plans…and more. Children will be out of school in just one week, and you MUST accomplish everything on your “to do” list before Christmas is here.
Yes, kids LOVE toys! Harry Potter. Alexa. Legos. Google stuff. Racing cars. Anything and everything Frozen. More Disney. LOLs. Playstations. Anything and everything Apple. Even a Galaxy. You get my point.
Yet, we know from scientific research, that no mountain of toys can and will never replace the parent- child connection that is fundamental to a child’s harmonious development and life-long wellbeing.  I am inviting you to re-consider this year’s Christmas approach in your family and dare to experiment with these 7 gifts to your child. Sit down in a quite space and write this letter:
My beautiful, magical and precious child, 
This year I decided to change things a bit for Christmas… Santa will still come, not to worry… Leave the milk and the cookies at the door. The change is ME.  I want to give you the gift of a better version of myself as a parent and the gift of intentional connection between us. This Christmas I commit to you to: 

  1. invest more time in my own self -care ( physically, mentally, emotionally) and self- awareness work because I am still healing my own childhood wounds. It is a long but rewarding process. I promise:-) 
  2. laugh with you every day; not to take myself so seriously; 
  3. play with you at least 10 minutes a day totally uninterrupted and undistracted. I promise not to check my phone, not to worry about cooking, cleaning or homework. You and me only. I will play any game you want and I will follow your lead. 
  4. listen to your feelings with patience and reverence. If you need to throw a tantrum or cry or scream or hit a pillow, I will be there for you to make sure you are safe. I will not rush you to feel your feelings; I will not feel embarrassed by what other people will say about your behavior; I will not invalidate your feelings of fear, anger, disappointment, hate or sadness. I will be there for you for as long as you need to feel your feelings. 
  5. set limits and say “no” with patience and love.  You need limits to grow strong. I will be firm but kind. I will not use shame or guilt or humiliation to “make you listen to me”. I want to see you shine your light into the world -and shame, guilt and humiliation feel very dark and heavy.  
  6. help you more with school and  house work. I will not do the work for you, but I will partner up with you. You need support to be successful. I will not let you fail. You are never alone.
  7. be vulnerable and authentic with you. I will not be afraid to tell you “I don’t know/ I need help/ I am not in a good mood right now/ I need some time alone. ” It is never your fault if I don’t feel good in my own skin. I take full responsibility for how I feel and who I am at any given time. Your job is to play and be happy. I will come back to you in few minutes. 

This is my gift to you this Christmas! We have a whole year ahead of us to play, laugh, cry, be silly, be angry, be sad, and then play some more. I promise!- and a promise is a promise. Merry Christmas, my sweet ….. !
With infinite love and gratitude,
Mom or Dad.