The Best New Year’s Gift You Can Give Your Kids

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I love the freshness of a new calendar and a new year. It’s a time to start new routines and tighten up our schedules. It’s a time to let go of some things, and a time to take up something new.

Maybe you’ve been looking at pre-school or a new after-school activity. Maybe you’re finally out of the baby stage and ready to take on the world — without always dragging around the diaper bag! Maybe you’re not sure what’s next in your motherhood journey, but you know that most days leave you overwhelmed and over-tired.

New Year’s Choices

I was right there with you last year, fellow mamas! And for the last year, I’ve tried very hard to slow it down. To savor the moments I have with my kids, especially when they are little. To not do so much and go so much that I don’t have anything left in the tank for my kids. To say no.

Somewhere along the way, we’ve gotten the message that what our kids really need is more. MORE gadgets. MORE activities. MORE playdates.

But sometimes, I think what they really need is less. LESS crazy rushing around. LESS pressure to do and be the best at so many things. LESS drive through and TV because mom and dad are out of energy.

Our kids need to be kids! And we need to be there with them. Dare I say it, I don’t think our kids need a new activity added to their already-full plate. I don’t think they always need the best camp or club or experience. I don’t think they need the newest and best and greatest of everything.

I think, more than anything, what our kids need … is less stuff and more of us.

This year, mama, I’d like to challenge you to join me in a new perspective for 2019.  Although it seems simple, I think it’s actually going to take quite a bit of effort and resolve. Would you join me in pledging to:

  • Sit down on the floor and play with your kids?
  • Turn off your phone from dinner time until bedtime?
  • Take each child, individually, on a special outing once every few months?
  • Eat dinner together, as a family, at the table and talk about highs and lows of the day in detail?
  • Say no to something (even if it’s good) so that you can say yes to something better?
  • Prioritize family time over leisure time?
  • Schedule a family meeting once a week?

I’m making the pledge! I know that I’ll stumble on many occasions. I know that social media will suck me back into its ever-increasing grasp. I know I’ll get frustrated and tired and bribe my kids with a Happy Meal just for a little peace a quiet.

But in the day in and day out, I want my kids to know that I value them and their place in our family. I want them to see me making time for them and for the things that they want to do (even if that equal glitter sequin slime or reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar for the one-millionth time). I want them to hear me say, “I would love to” more than I say, “not right now.”

So, mama: What’s the best New Year’s gift you can give your kids this year? YOU!

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Raised in North Carolina, Christy loves sweet tea (think watery syrup), lightning bugs, and fall leaves. After over a decade years in South Texas, she now considers herself “from the Valley,” and can’t seem to get enough of mango raspas, afternoons by the pool and, of course, botanas. Her family has ridden the roller coaster that is foster and adoptive parenting for the last eight years and they are much the better for it. Christy loves doing life with her husband, Caleb, and their four kids.

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