Countdown is on. 2 more sleeps! Maybe you've taken a little break from the flurry of activity that takes up this week, maybe you're reading this in between last minute shopping trips or as you make lists of things you need to see to. Either way, I have an idea I want to share...
I was thinking last night about how we can be more tangible with our desires to not make this season all about stuff and getting more things and how we can really practically be more dedicated to connectedness with the people around us. It really is one thing to say it and intend it, but another to actually muster up the energy and will to do it; to switch off and connect. Especially when it comes to our kids. Maybe you've caught this moving IKEA advert where kids talk about how they'd rather have time with their parents than gifts, or this awesome reassuring article from AHA Parenting about how WE are our children's favourite toy. It's simple, but so easy to forget in the midst of the wrapping paper and forgotten batteries!
Yesterday we headed out to find somewhere new to have a wander together. The winter sun was just moving down and the air was chilly, finally resembling the December weather that seemed to be missing. It was a short walk around Portmore Lough Nature Reserve but it was a full 20 minutes of breathing deeply, playfulness and calm.
It made me realise how much I deeply wanted Levi to hold value in the things that we do together rather than the things that he gets, and how, along with the small presents he gets from us this year, I want to give him the promise of our presence throughout the year - carved out time that is special, that allows him to take the lead and have our full attention. That's what our advent was all about and it should carry through all year round with intention, right? Sure, we give moments of this to him every day but I'm talking about planned connection time.
I started making a list on my phone of things we could do this year that would really be fun for him (and us) and would foster connection. I'm particularly aware of how important this is with another baby landing into our family in a couple of months (*has small panic attack*).
I'm going to include these things as part of his 'presents' this year and thought maybe this was something other parents might like to include it as well. Here's how it's going to work:
+ Print off this handy little list I made - or make your own special family one, feel free to use this as a base!
+ Cut the 'presence presents' out & either attach them to sweets, put them in envelopes and stick them to presents or hide them around the house for a Christmas morning treasure hunt!
+ Notice there are 12 here, one for each month so we can properly choose, plan and organise a special presence present each month without the overwhelm. I've also been purposeful about these things being pretty much cost-free - the added financial burden of elaborate 'connection time' kind of misses the point.
+ Spend time having a chat about the thought behind this on Christmas morning.
What do you think? Is this something you could include for your family too? Something you can do together each month that is dedicated and planned for connection? You could even adjust this for yourself and your partner. I'd love to hear any other ideas or versions of how you might do this in your home or how you are fostering presence with your loved ones this year.