Here’s a riddle: where hides the best present for the modern child who has nearly everything? To put it short: my children don’t enjoy the sweet small gifts for the new year that I put into their socks at night. They show signs of disappointment if it’s not some shiny model of a trophy tank or a mermaid who solves double integrals. They show almost no interest if it’s a simple thing like a set of color markers or stickers for room decoration – something I would enjoy tremendously in my childhood.
Spoiled? Maybe. But I believe it’s more of a trend, that has to do with the growing addiction to the digital devices: smartphones, tablets and so forth.
Every time a problem pops up, I like to analyze, look for reasons and come up with a smart and elegant solution and
feel very smart. But this time I admit – I only see the phenomena but no way to get rid of it.
Children of the digital age – my children, in particular, obviously have different set of priorities than I used to have in my childhood around 30 years ago. I’m more than OK with the digital age but yet – I still read thick paper books, appreciate moments of total silence
boredom? and make sure I do not become too addicted to the smartphone. But how come, that my little people have lost a great part of appreciation of material things called toys?
This is a cry into the void. Yet, I have come up with observations and ways to turn the old-fashioned toys into best presents.
Listen to your child – she will tell you everything
Children often tell us directly what kind of presents they wish for. It’s parents, who systematically choose to ignore or forget. Busy, tired, distracted – there are many reasons why moms don’t hear the messages that are poured directly into their ears.
I make a conscious effort to hear them. I struggle to create a space somewhere between the nerve cells of my brain, sort and store the most important information. It ranges between casual after-school conversations to serious evening talks about global social issues. It’s about getting used to being there when your child talks. (Even if that means answering with an “uh-huh” because you are too tired to stir the muscles of your jaws). Then you both may find yourselves in a better place of mutual understanding.
Yes, the element of surprise will disappear. However, asking a direct question will save the guess work and will ensure you give them something they genuinely crave for. By the way, it often happens that kids forget they had told you what they had told you, so the element of surprise might reappear
if you wait long enough.
Surprising or not – the conclusion:
Despite the said above, once the digital devices are put away for a while, a magic thing happens – my children become children again: creatures happy from just being there at home with their mom and dad. They jump on sofas, mold with play-dough, stand on their heads and write stories (on paper). Plush dogs and cats become best presents again. My straightforward conclusion: it’s us, parents, who allow children to hang an endless amount of time with the devices, because it’s us, parents, who crave for the quiet
hours moments. Which means, that it’s all up to the mom – how long can she last (work, rest) without her kids being fixed on the monitor?