When you become a parent, there will always be things for which you are unprepared. However many books that you read and however many questions you ask your parents or friends that you know with children, you will not be able to know everything. It is simply impossible. Every part of life has a learning curve, and parenting is no different.
Some people may wonder about whether they’d be a good parent, but the fact that they are asking the question and that they already care enough about their child proves that they will do just fine. However, they will not be perfect, as no one is. When your baby is first born, it marks a seismic change in your life. Every day before that, you had to look after yourself and look out for the people around you, whether they were your partner, your family or your friends. When you have a baby though, it is the first time in your life when you are completely responsible for every aspect of another person’s existence. Without you, they may be too hot or too cold. They could also be frightened or hungry or bored. As they grow up, you also need to worry about their development, both intellectually and emotionally. It is a massive task, but it is also one of the greatest things that you can do in life.
You may start to feel at some point that you have a stable, healthy relationship with your child. The truth is though that you can never just keep doing what you’re doing as a parent. Your child will change and grow, and you need to change with them. For instance, the needs that you child will have at five will be vastly different from the needs they have at fifteen. One of the things that remains the same throughout their life though is making them feel special. This is something that you should try to do regularly so that they know that you love them. Birthdays and other celebrations are a great chance to do this. You should not do it too much though as you do not want your child to be spoilt. However, treating them to something every now and then is an important part of being a parent. Here are a few ideas for gifts for your kids:
- Buying something for a baby or a toddler can sometimes be difficult because their personalities are not quite as developed as they will be as teenagers, so it is difficult to gauge their interests. It is for this reason that a lot of gifts that people buy for newborns are often utilitarian. While a baby needs clothes, they are not exactly exciting. Getting a toy is fine, but there is no way of knowing if they’ll like it until they actually get it. One thoughtful thing that you could do is get them something that they can share with their parents (with you if it is your child). Reading is a crucial part of a child’s development, and studies have found that sharing a story with your child develops the parts of their brain that they use for mental imagery and understanding narrative. Doctors at Cincinnati Children’s’ Hospital used MRI scans to prove it. To make it more special, you could get personalised children’s books. The excitement and wonder that they will feel as you both read a story that features them as the hero will make you both want to read all the time. You can get books with specific designs that look like them which also feature their name. You can also have stories that show them interacting with their favourite characters. Developing a love of reading is important because it makes your child more empathetic and considerate as well as better prepared for school.
- It is not just objects that you can get as gifts for your children though. Organising a day trip or an event with your son and daughter can be special because it shows that you know them well and that you are willing to share in their passions. It does not need to be expensive. If your child has the same wanderlust as a lot of children, you could take them to a museum that they may like. For instance, there is the National Football Museum in Manchester (there is no reason you both can’t enjoy it) or the National Space Centre in Leicester. London is home to all sorts of fascinating and free museums and art galleries and a day out in the capital is a great opportunity to have lots of fun. You could also take your child to an event that you know they’ll like such as a sporting event of a team they support or a concert of an artist they admire. Whatever it is, it shows you care.
- A long-term gift that you may want to think about is starting an email address for your child when they are born. As they go through the milestones that every child experiences, you can take pictures and send them to the email address. You can also write letters to them and send them too. Do not let your child know that you are doing this because when they turn eighteen, you can give them the password and you can both share in all of the fun moments that you had that you may have otherwise forgotten. It is a sweet idea, but it takes a lot of time and dedication. However, it is a demonstration of how much you love them, and it is a gift that no one can ever buy.
- Lastly, you may not realise it if you are raising your children at the moment, but all of the fun you are having now will one day only exist as a memory. To make it more permanent, you could do things together and make a record of them. Why not make a short film that you could write together? Or you could write a children’s book together and work on the illustrations until it is just right. When your children are adults and all grown up, they will appreciate the memento of their childhood, and it could be something that they share with their children.