Good Life

Fathering | Give your child the gift of time, attention

Like many parents, we spent more money than we should have buying presents for our small children. It was worth it, seeing our children on Christmas morning (sometimes at 5 a.m.) wiggle with anticipation as the presents were handed out and the paper torn off. Of course, the yelp for joy was louder when they got the presents they wanted, compared to when they got what they needed or what was best for them.

Reflecting back on those days, it occurred to me that in some ways it was not very important what kind of toys they got. Most toys, whether they were the toys they wanted or the educational ones we bought them, tended to fall into disuse fairly quickly. Looking back, the ones that had some “staying power” with our children were the toys we used together.

This holiday season, remember to give your child the gift that has real staying power — your time and attention.

Action ideas:

Think back to your early childhood. Which gifts helped involve both you and your father?

It is easier to be involved with your child with toys you like. However, it may mean more to your child to play “crazy eights” than to play catch in the backyard.

Toys that encourage creativity, such as crayons, blocks, play-dough, dress-up clothes or building sets, are usually recommended. Certainly children gain from using these by themselves. However, children gain so much more when together you build a tower, act out a “play” or construct a model airplane.