Childhood is that time of your life when a small stone that you picked up from the road could mean so much more than an expensive toy.
I’m always amazed by the fact that it is so easy and simple to delight little kids. Ah! the innocence, the incredulity, the wide-eyed thrill! They don’t ask for much – a little note on a balloon, an unexpected new pencil, a favourite chocolate, even a small scribbling pad – kids are the easiest to please. And I consciously look for ways that are experiences and inexpensive.
Here are 5 simple ways to make your child’s day special.
1. Be a ‘Yes’ Parent for the day: It is actually sad how much their lives are regimented, even though I have never sent my 6 year old to any after-school classes, but I always feel guilty about pushing him from one thing to another. We, as parents, feel the pressure of time. School hours are longer these days and there’s such little time spent at home. We have to ensure that they have rested well while also taking care of their daily nutrition and play (and your own responsibilities). And somewhere we start saying ‘No’ too often despite our best intentions. Nobody wants to be strict just for the heck of it.
But it is important to let go once in a while because that’s what the kids want. By being a ‘yes’ parent for a day, you can absolutely turn around the day for your child. So, for a day, say ‘yes’ to skipping afternoon nap, say ‘yes’ to cookies and chips, say ‘yes’ to a movie on your laptop, say ‘yes’ to his favourite chocolate, say ‘yes’ to playing a board game with him, say ‘yes’ to extra time for play.
2. Go Hiking: Nature and time with parents are two of the most favourite things for any child. Combine them and go for a nature walk together. We always look for non-mall things to do with our son (as I’m writing this, my husband and my 6 year old are at a science exhibition). We recently went on a hill hike, and had so much fun. It was thrilling to take in the surroundings from the hill top and a cherished experience for our son. No wonder, he’s been asking us to do it again.
3. Cook something special: I am a self-confessed reluctant cook. I would rather clean than cook; but with a young child at home and with health featuring on my top 3 priorities, I end up cooking a lot! Cooking something that your child loves, can be another simple way to make his/her day. On Children’s day, I made nankhatai (Indian cookies) for him and kept it ready on his table. When he came back from school, he was excited to find them (also since he was allowed to eat as many as he wanted).
4. Surprise them: Little things surprise them. They go to school, open the lunchbox and find their favourite snack, or they open their pencil box and find a brand new pencil or they pull out clothes from the cupboard and a favourite candy falls with it; there can be several such tiny surprises that are easy to do as well as inexpensive. From last 2 birthdays we have been doing Treasure Hunts for him and those have been his most favourite birthday memories.
5. Let them Play: What can be more liberating than being allowed to play as much as they want, without any time constraints! Remember, how much we used to crave that ourselves as kids, and then we grew up and became our own parents. Certainly, once in a while we can let them play all they want. Moreover, isn’t it established now that play is essential for development and learning?
How do YOU make your child’s day special? I’m sure you have some exciting ideas too. Please share.