SchoolFamily Voices

Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

A Simple but Meaningful Holiday Gift for Your Child

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As we are all aware, parents today are stretched in many different directions. Obligations at work, demands of home and family, and the stress of the holiday season can be difficult. Combined with text messages, tweets, emails, cell phone calls, and other electronic distractions, simple pleasures can be overshadowed.

Here is an easy gift for your young child, one that doesn’t require a trip to the mall or hours online. It may well be remembered as the best gift ever. Give your daughter or son the gift of “you”! Make this an electronics-free gift of time. 


  • Wrap up a card or create a simple certificate to explain how the gift will work. If you have more than one child, plan a day for each, separately.
  • Take a weekend or vacation day sometime in the next months. The day could come as early as January, or it could be saved and redeemed during summer vacation.
  • Plan to spend it doing your child’s favorite non-electronic activities. They might include building with Legos or blocks, cooking together, coloring or drawing, a tea party, playing board games, playing Hide and Seek or other outdoor games, going on a hike, riding bikes, building a snow fort, going to the library together, reading, going to a beach or pool,  etc.
  • Vary the activities, and pack or buy an inexpensive lunch of favorite foods.
    Make sure the day is spent only with that child, one on one.
  • Have your phone with you for emergencies only. Leave all other electronics at home.

As a parent, you will be amazed at how a simple day, spent together with no distractions, can help you understand and appreciate the person your child is becoming!

Holiday-theme worksheets

More from Connie McCarthy


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Do you allow your children to watch TV or play on the computer before doing their homework?