Above all one of the most important gifts you can give as a parent is to be present for your family. There are always many distractions that can occur. Just because its Christmas doesn’t mean that you automatically get time off from your work. However, when the family is together “be present” in every way. If you are working outside your home, when you come home switch work off. Turn off your Blackberry and don’t sit with your laptop pretending to everyone else that you are interested in what is going on. The truth is your laptop doesn’t have to be related to work to be a distraction. There is Google to check on, emails, Facebook or Twitter just to mention a few. The message you are conveying is that “thing” is more important than family. So turn the distraction off and turn your attention “on” to your children, your friends or your partner.
At Christmas time family shows are often aired and can be a source of real enjoyment to the whole family together. But television can also be another huge distraction. To have the TV on only causes eyes to glance at something that could catch their attention and before long you can be totally absorbed in something completely irrelevant.
As gifts are opened the children will want you to either help them put something together, read the instructions, or just play with them. To do this you need to be present in every capacity. If your mind is on work or what your money is or isn’t doing for you or the multitude of other things around, you will resent the demands and the expectation. So, mentally prepare yourself. Speak to your partner and discuss what the plan is for the day so the two of you are working together.
If you are present and fully engaged with the family, you will enjoy your time together and have fun. As a family you will create fond memories that will last a lifetime.