Do you give away toys? Give emotions
Did you know that memory gives priority to emotional memories? That's right, memory is selective and stores preferentially positive memories and those that have captivated us emotionally for various reasons. To arrive to the heart It is the best way to give to children and the rest of the family this Christmas.
Memories of emotional events-especially positive ones-involve more sensory details (visual, auditory, olfactory) linked to context (place, date) than neutral events. The emotional images resist better the passage of time in the memory and being more consolidated, they are better preserved in the long term. Emotions structure our memory acting as a zoom or a filter and some studies on the subject ensure that memory gives preference to some memories depending on the state of mind in which we find ourselves.
One of them is the one carried out, in the seventies, by the cognitive psychologist Gordon H. Bower, whoHe conducted research on our way of storing and evoke memories depending on the state of mind. He asked a series of people to memorize lists of words going through different moods. Then, he observed their differences when remembering these words, while also passing through various moods.
Conclusionfound that we tend to remember more easily memorize the elements or events in a similar mood which we have at the moment of evoking them.
Why give emotions to children?
The happiness of the children is not proportional to the amount of gifts they receive, whether at Christmas, birthdays or any other special celebration.
It is the time of the year when children are more excited than ever, they are excited, but ... if we were to ask ourselves what makes them so excited, the answer would be easy, the toys! And it seems that Christmas has two faces, the charm of the values that characterize it as generosity, hope, love ... and consumerism, where the important thing is the gifts we receive.
We have all seen how the material gifts, over time have been passed to oblivion and along with them their "emotional" meaning if it had it. But nevertheless, the experiences and emotions associated with them are not forgotten. The reality is that we have a habit of giving away things without thinking too much about real needs, the meaning they have, the values we want to convey.
This year you can make it different, you can take advantage of these dates to start transmitting to your children that the important thing is not the things but the moments lived. So we can introduce at home the values that, as a family, you want them to develop.
Emotions to give with the heart
1. Give away surprises. Unexpected events, related to people, friends and family, have a lot of emotional impact. For children, turning on the light in their room and seeing their 3 or 4 best friends there, their grandparents, their cousins ... to spend the afternoon together, can be exciting.
2. Dream activities. Some activities such as horse riding, sledding, ice skating, watching a live musical or magic show ... can be a dream for many children. Mix the surprise factor and make your dream come true. He will not forget it.
3. Give time together. In this busy society and with so little free time the best gift for our children is to spend time with them, quality time. Make a parenthesis and plan to do something together like decorating the house with family, an afternoon of movies and popcorn, a game with them, etc. You will see how they will thank you so much more than any other gift.
4. Letter of thanks. It is time to teach them to value what they have and nothing better than to put it in writing. The recipients of the Letter can be the Three Kings, a relative, friends ... In the letter they can express their feelings towards others, and in this way we help to develop the value of gratitude.
5. Help them to share. Children have a hard time leaving their things to others, one way to help them become less selfish is to teach them to share, this can be done through games, instead of giving away individual games, giving away group games, where they can develop also their social skills, empathy ...
6. Teach them to get rid of and give away. These dates are a good time for all those toys that no longer use to give them to other children who may need them, so we help them to promote generosity and compassion towards others. And if they can deliver them themselves, and see the happy face of the one who receives it, better!
The danger of giving away toys only
If we observe our surroundings we will realize that each child already has his toys magazine where he has marked everything he would like to have, surely they will have already written the letter to the Magi putting what they want this year to give them, yes, As long as they have behaved well!
And history repeats itself. The long-awaited day arrives and we see how the youngest, get up excited, start opening gifts, one after another without paying too much attention, it seems that the important thing is to open and see that this is all they have asked for, with luck there may be one that retains its attention a little more, but a few days later we see how the rooms fill toys and more toys that are abandoned once Christmas is over and adults end up with a bittersweet feeling.
And so, without hardly realizing and with the best of intentions, we are transmitting to our children that the important thing is material things, that if they behave well during the year, in the end they will have their reward; the toys, doing this way that they do not value the things neither the effort that supposes to obtain them.
Rocío Navarro Psychologist Director of Psicolari, integral psychology