Adults communicate “presence” to children through eye contact,
facial expressions, body language and undivided attention.

It requires that adults not only set aside time, but also make the
mental space available to truly listen to children with all of our
senses.

In a culture that values the ability to multitask, undivided attention
is a rare experience – especially during busy seasons.

Often, children communicate more through their actions and body
language than with language. The droop of the shoulder, the gleam
in the eye or the twirling of the hair reveals more than words.
Being fully present communicates that you truly value your time
with the child and what he has to say.

Here are five gifts you can give your children this Christmas season!

UNDERSTANDING:
In the heart of every person is a desire to be understood—to know
that someone has taken the time to understand what it is like to
walk in our shoes.
Understanding means that we know what makes children sad, what
makes them happy; what scares and what embarrasses. We know
what interests them, what books they like and their favorite ice
cream.
Understanding does not always mean agreement. An adult may
understand a child’s reasons for being angry but the adult helps
the child find ways to manage the anger and move on to a better
frame of mind.
Understanding requires adults to look at the world through the
eyes of a child.

PROTECTION:
Children need to know that adults are “big enough” to protect them
physically and psychologically.
Inappropriate expectations or the lack of firm guidance and limits
can leave the child feeling inadequate and vulnerable.

PLAYFUL ENGAGEMENT:
Play disarms fear and sets the stage for emotional connections to
be established.
Playing together, doing something that the child truly enjoys, is
often the starting place in building a relationship with a child who
is alienated.

RESPECT FOR AUTHORITY:
Children need to know that they are not the boss. In fact, children
want to know that they are not the boss because
being the boss is scary to a child.
Firm limits and adult supervision help children and teenagers feel
safe.

ACCEPTANCE:
Children need to know that adults accept them for who they are
and not for what they do.

Acceptance does not mean that adults always approve of their
choices or actions, but it means that despite their behavior, they are
still loved, valued and appreciated.

And remember, especially in this season, YOU are loved, valued, and appreciated.

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