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You don’t need an article on a website to tell you or anyone else that your child is one of a kind. Sometimes, however, your child needs to be shown how remarkable he or she is. Learn 10 ways to celebrate your child’s extraordinary spirit.
Remind your child how remarkable he or she is to you
Those sparkling eyes. That cute laugh. Let’s not forget to mention his or her indomitable courage and capacity for generosity and joy.
There’s no one like your child. And although you know that, and others that love your child know that, sometimes the truth may not be readily apparent to your son or daughter.
One way to remedy that situation is to celebrate your child’s life. Whether the celebration lasts for a week or a day, or is in the form of a consistent gesture or family tradition, celebrating your child’s life is a sure-fire way to say, “Uou are loved, you are wanted, and you are important.”
If you think about it, there’s likely a lot to celebrate. Children with Cerebral Palsy face more obstacles than their able-bodied peers; they must accomplish everything other children master while coping with their medical condition. Your child has most likely endured medical appointments, surgeries, and therapies, all while going to school, forming relationships, taking part in family activities and developing his or her individual personality and point of view.
Celebrating your child doesn’t have to be complex. Doing so can fit into any daily routine – or you can break that routine and plan a special day or week of celebration. It doesn’t have to be expensive; small gestures that talk to the heart of how you feel about your child often matter more than an elaborate, costly gift.
So, how do you start celebrating your child’s life and achievements? Here are a few ideas.
Ten Ways to Celebrate Your Child
1. Do something new
Your child is still young and can look forward to a lifetime of new experiences. Why not jump-start the beginning of those experiences today?
Exploring new things can be a bonding opportunity between you and your child because it’s a step you’re taking into the unknown, together. Neither of you activity is something one, or both of you, will be good at or enjoy. Your child may like it; you may not, or vice versa. The important aspect of doing something new is showing your child that you’re willing to work beyond boundaries and comfort zones to embrace adventure and new experiences, even if it makes you look foolish or feel self-conscious.
So, a trip to your local park to snowboard may be a bust. But, the memories you and your child will have may last a lifetime.
2. Plan a theme activity
Whether a rough and tumble sports event or a day of pampering is on tap depends mostly on your child’s interests and abilities. A theme day can be as simple as having a movie night or a sports night once a week, or planning a spa day or a tea party on occasion.
A theme day can revolve around any activity. It can revolve around a concept, like “Mexican food night” or “boy-band video night.” The event can be a one-on-one parent and child bonding effort or it can be an opportunity to join family or friends.
Whatever your child is interested in, goes.
3. Volunteer with your child
A child with special needs is assisted often, he or she is the recipient of other’s time and efforts. Since it is not always easy being on the recipient end of generosity, what if the tables were turned and your child was able to experience the joy and happiness that is part of helping others in need?
Your child will come to know that there are other people who are facing a myriad of challenges. Everyone, from time to time appreciates assistance. While volunteering presents an opportunity to deepen your relationship with your son or daughter, it also can demonstrate to your child how fulfilling it is to care about another with needs. It also sets the stage for an important conversation about how much they can contribute to the health, happiness and welfare of others.
The opportunities to give back are endless and can fit into any family’s routine as well as their budget. And, there’s usually some opportunity that fits into your child’s range of abilities.
Is there a local food pantry that could use some help collecting non-perishables for needy families? Let your child choose some food at the grocery store, actively participate in delivering packages to others, or volunteer at a task within their capabilities.
If that’s not feasible, set aside some time to make pictures and write notes for U.S. soldiers on deployment overseas or seniors in nursing homes during the holidays. Pick an activity that is enjoyable and do-able, and let your child know what an immense difference he or she is making.
4. Write special notes
Sometimes, a note on the inside of a lunchbox can be a colossal pick-me-up during a tough day. This is especially true if your child is young; he or she will likely have many days that are frustrating or sensational. A well-written note that says something to the effect of, “You’re doing great today, and I love you” can make a child’s day.
If a child is going through the emotional ups and downs of tweenhood or teenhood, a note in a lunchbox may not even be possible. But, a well-intentioned email or text message that expresses support, especially if there has been tension at home, can make a difference—just don’t post it on their Facebook page.
In this case, you can address what is happening in your child’s life directly by writing something like, “Even though your therapy session was difficult today, you nailed it. Nice job!”
Or, you could text your son and daughter a teaser, “When you get home, there will be a special surprise.” Then let the anticipation build during the school day and unveil a favorite meal or small gift when your child gets home.
5. Tell your child how you feel
It goes without saying that your son and daughter should know how you feel. In the rush of everyday life, however, this can be one aspect of your relationship that could be reinforced.
Even if your child tells you he or she knows how you feel, sneak in a few well-intentioned reminders every so often. Sneak up behind them and wrap your arms around their shoulders for a quick hug. Put a few Hershey kisses in their lunch with a Lifesaver candy. Or, once they’ve fallen asleep, tip-toe into their bedroom, brush their hair aside, and kiss their forehead goodnight.
Fixing their favorite meal, or desert, may also serve as a silent reinforcement.
A child may seem to brush this off, especially if they are older, but they’ll remember it later.
6. Plan an outing based on your child’s interest
If a child has a specific interest or hobby, such as stamp collecting, jewelry-making, charcoal drawing, or just about anything else, there is likely an association or club dedicated to that endeavor.
Why not check out the local classifieds or search online for an opportunity to develop your child’s interest? If your child is interested in stamp collecting, see if there’s a local club that hosts shows in your area, and set aside time to go to stamp collection events with your child.
If a child is interested in photography, take a community education photography class with them to learn more about why they enjoy it so much.
You may not share the same passion for an activity that your child does, but if you foster and support their hobbies, they will appreciate it later.
7. Take a drive down memory lane
As your child grows up, her or she is likely to have questions about the past. How did you meet your spouse? Where did you grow up? Where did mom or dad grow up? What were my parents’ experiences?
To answer these questions, it’s a good idea to take a trip down memory lane. If you live close to where you grew up, take your child to your childhood home. Have lunch at the restaurant where you had your first date with your spouse. Spend the night in the hotel where you honeymooned. Visit the hospital they were born in.
Tell your child how happy everyone was to meet them for the first time after birth. Let them know how excited you were to bring them home the first day. Visit their daycare and elementary schools. In essence, celebrate their milestones. Drag out the old picture box or photo album, and tell them a story about the picture they may not have known.
Recollection, alone, lets them know their progress and their life bring enormous joy.
8. Make a special video
With the advent of technology, almost anyone can make a short computer-generated video for YouTube.
Creating a YouTube or a picture collage on Instagram is the online equivalent of making a scrapbook. Gather your child’s photos, from birth and onward, and compile them for the video. This should be easy because most people use digital cameras. Structure the video so it highlights your child’s growth and achievements.
By posting the video to a personal Facebook page, a private Instagram account, at YouTube channel, or in an email to family and friends can reinforce how amazing your child is to you.
9. Be there with a pick-me-up when it counts
There are days when things just don’t go right. Perhaps your child was teased at school, their presentation bombed, the day progressed as if there were a full moon, or they were overlooked for a peer outing.
Pick-me-ups are in order. “I’m sorry they didn’t include you at the playground today, but they don’t know what they are missing,” may suffice. Or, “It’s a shame your science project didn’t work as planned, but the effort you put into creating it was amazing.” The best part of a pick-me-up is the feeling a child has when they know their parent is their number one fan and supporter.
10. Develop small, consistent traditions
Things that can be relied on, whether there is rain, sleet or snow, are something your child craves.
Those things that your child knows are absolute and unconditional, such as the love of their parents or their siblings, is part of a platform that serves as the foundation of his or her family. Traditions are an important part of that foundation.
These can be light-hearted; such as baking a favorite treat on the last day of school or having an annual hayride on a special weekend of the year, every year. It could be as simple as making an effort to call your child on Valentine’s Day each year with a quirky and clumsy self made “Roses are red. Violets are blue…” poetry rhyme. The significant aspect of traditions is that they show how you feel, and that they are done on a consistent basis.
Traditions, if they are regular, send a message that the other tensions and situations we face as families and as individuals are often temporary. But the love you have for your child is consistent, unchanged and permanent.
A message can be verbal, or something that’s felt in the heart. What all messages have in common is that they can influence our perspectives for better or worse. Luckily, by gathering positive messages, the bad ones can be cast away.
- Accept Help
- Celebrate Your Child
- Dare to Dream
- Experience Magic
- Find and Foster Creativity
- Gain Perspective
- Get Your Mojo Back
- Keep the Family Together
- Let Go
- Love without Barriers
- Pat Yourself on the Back
- Plan Ahead
- Pursue Happiness
- Reinvent Normal
- Share Some Love
- Take a Break
- Welcome to Holland