This really isn’t the last holiday lesson. I am sure you have learned some that I do not even know about. However, there is one more lesson I want to suggest to families with children of any age.
This holiday lesson doesn’t cost anything. You don’t need to prepare to do it. You don’t even have to practice. All you have to do is be prepared to talk about how the holidays were with your child.
One of the nicest lessons you can teach your child is to appreciate the experiences she has had. Whether it is a trip to the zoo, a shopping trip, or the celebration of a holiday it is worth talking about. When you discuss what happened on Christmas, you relive it.
You have a chance to go back and think about it and discuss what you liked, what you wish were different, and how you would change things.
You pick up on things you may have missed and you hear from the one you are talking with about some of the things you didn’t notice. It is a chance to experience the holiday all over.
It is also a chance to help your child learn to improve her verbal skills. Just sitting around or just before bedtime is a great time to think and chat. When you take the time to talk with your young child it tells her how much you value what she has to say.
You don’t have to wait for a big holiday to take the time to talk together. You should make sure that you have time on a regular basis to discuss what is going on in her life. She needs to feel her importance to you.
When she is older, perhaps a teenager, these times remain valuable. They still teach her of her importance to you. These times give her a chance to tell you about her. You can learn what is important, what she values most, what she rejects, and how she feels about her life.
You can certainly see this is an important time.
Talking together is one of life’s greatest lessons. You both get to share important thoughts with one another. This is a time that too frequently is ignored or at best neglected. This is a time when you can talk about things that are important to you and hear from her how she feels about it.
Maybe you talk about her cousin who was recently diagnosed with pneumonia. Maybe she wants to talk about her dog who died last year. Maybe she can talk about the girl at school that the other children make fun of. All of these are subjects that are important to her but they may be ones that get overlooked in the business of the day. But now can be a special talk together time.
Make sure she knows you thought the conversation was important and that you thank her for it. Make sure the conclusion contains a big hug and a special comment on how special she is to you.
You also need to make sure that this conversation is repeated. You can do it when you are driving her to school, helping wash her hair, she is helping you put the dishes in the dishwasher, or is getting ready for bed. These are valuable times that you want to make sure are repeated.
You are fortunate to have this special child.
Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and former executive director of Parenting Matters Foundation, which publishes newsletters for parents, caregivers and grandparents. Reach Martin at email@example.com.