Happy Holidays! It’s that time of year again when we spend our days shopping for gifts, running from place to place trying to catch the best deals to put a smile on the face of those we love! While it is an exciting time, it can also be time that we neglect the most precious gifts we already have, our families, especially our children. While we are taking care of holiday business let’s find ways to keep our family and children knowing how special they are to us.

Below are some parenting tips (Courtesy Family Matters Parenting, 2015) to help parents understand how to spend quality time with their children, especially in this holiday season:

  • Parenting Tips 1:
    Rethink your life: one day each week, squeeze your schedule into your family life, rather than your family into your schedule. Find things that you can do together as a family.Make sure that you give each child individualized attention. Talk to your child; find out how he’s doing. Make yourself responsible for having a finger on his pulse. Be accessible, even when you’re busy.
  • Parenting Tips 2:
    Spending time doesn’t mean you have to do anything special. All it means is that you give your interest and attention.If you’re overwhelmed with chores, ask your kids to help. There’s something about engaging with others in routine activity that invites conversation and connection. Above all, check yourself before you use candy, money, toys or trips to make up for being unavailable. Remind yourself that this is often a clever defense to assuage a sense of guilt.
  • Parenting Tips 3:
    Unscheduled time–time spent spontaneously and given freely— is a great healer of relationship. Learn to make time for the people in your life. Have days or at least moments when you freely give your time. Don’t worry that the laundry isn’t folded or that you have a million things to do. Put all that aside and give your children time. By doing so, you’ll be giving them the most valuable thing you own.

Thank you so much to Dr. Juanita Brigman, ESNG’s Mental Health Manager, for contributing this article.

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