What Kids Really Want for Christmas

It is simple really–all they really want is your time.

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And yet we are living in this age of information.

What is the weather going to be like today?

Where can I get good Chinese food?

How is the situation in Syria?

What is (insert name here)’s status on FB?

What is the Kardashian crisis this week?

Why is the sky blue?

All of these questions can be answered almost immediately through our phones, tablets, and computers.  As a result (myself most definitely included) we get distracted and forget what is most important in life.  Time  is something we can’t make more of, yet we spend it things that give us the least joy and satisfaction.

Have you ever watched a family in the park? The kids are playing on the swings and the parent is checking email on a phone.  And we judge them…until we notice we have just checked email on our own phone.  I have read countless journal entries and papers by students that highlight either the good times a child had when a parent was fully present in an activity or ones that express their desire to spend time with an actively engaged parent.  My daughter’s schoolwork is no different.  She consistently writes about the times I have read to her before bedtime.  A tradition that started in infancy but lately has fallen away because I have become distracted with a need to check email and complete other work.  Lately, I’ve asked her to read a story to her brother instead.  She does it reluctantly and sadly.  I in turn feel guilty and nobody is truly happy with this change.  Was checking email really worth missing those 20 minutes of precious time with my children?  Undoubtedly the answer is no.  Even with this, I continue to make a choice and process trivial pieces of information on a computer screen (most of it is not worth reading), and I skip reading Polar Express to my kids this season.  I get a technological high and my kids too little of my undivided attention.

This Christmas it is time for me to set down the tablet, to not send that text, to not read the trash that pops up on Yahoo! and instead spend this precious time with my kids.  Let’s start a parenting revolution–play a board game, color a picture, bake cookies, go for a walk, and enjoy a “Silent Night” with your children.  That is what they really want for Christmas–your time!

How do you spend quality time with your children?

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