The right kind of present

What child doesn’t love the gift of receiving a toy they’ve had their eyes on for weeks (a lifetime in a child’s world) and wished for at least times in their letters to Santa?!

Christmas and giving go hand-in-hand in Aotearoa, but there’s one present we can give any family member – child or adult – that is perfect and priceless…

Being present. All the presents in the world can’t beat being present. 

I know the above line sounds cheesier than the potato gratin you might serve with your turkey, but the novelty of packaged goods does wear off and as our tots and teens grow, the memories of who they played with rather than what they had will be what really shapes their future.

I’ve had a lesson in the importance of being present with my Miss Five recently. She’s fairly independent and the busy December days mean that often I’ve left her to her own devices (figuratively and literally) while I tick off my to-do list as well as tend to a toddler!

“But you’re not listening to me, Mummy.”… She is right. 

“I want you to play with me.”… I really should. 

The mum-guilt is real, but her words keep me accountable and are a gentle (if not heart-wrenching) reminder that she sees things through different eyes. Pure and simple.

Yes, we’re lucky enough to be able to afford a few physical gifts for our family this Christmas. But the one I’ll hope she’ll love the most is my promise to connect with her mindfully and more often. 


Editor,  Tots To Teens


Life, parent and leadership coach Kiran Gaind from The Connected Family suggests the following two ways to mindfully connect with our kids:

  1. Put away the screens, multitasking and other distractions and spend quality one on one time with your child, giving them all of your warmth and attention. Set a timer for anywhere between 15-60 minutes. Until that timer goes off, bathe your child in your pure attention, warmth and love. Let your child choose what he or she wants to do, and simply go with their flow, offering your observation, encouragement, warmth and love. You’ll be able to focus on them in nourishing ways, while also nourishing your own need for connection.
  2. Create more space in your schedules. Let go of relentless activity. Allow time to be, to rest, to create, to read, to connect, to be together, to be in nature, and to enjoy life. Being present means we slow down enough to actually notice moments we’re in. 
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