Emotional Gifts: A Useful Parenting Technique

Emotional gifts are a useful technique for educating children in values and preventing excessive consumerism and a constant desire for more material goods.
Emotional Gifts: A Useful Parenting Technique
Pedro González Núñez

Written and verified by the child educator Pedro González Núñez.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Let’s imagine some parents that are so busy that they hardly have enough time to raise their kids or spend time with them. So, they decide to try to remedy the situation by buying them material gifts that are more and more expensive. Do you you really think these items can fill the void of emotional gifts?

If we fall into the trap of tired parents who work a million hours a day and try to make up for it with pricy gifts, we’re committing a major mistake in the education of our children.

Imagine that each day, in order to ease your heavy conscience for not spending time with your kids, you give them a present. And these gifts are becoming more and more expensive with each passing day. Or maybe it’s getting harder and harder to find something that your children get excited about. Where do you think this is going to lead you sooner or later?

Emotional Gifts: A Useful Parenting Technique

The consequences of constant gifts

If we’re constantly giving our children material goods, they get used to it. In other words, receiving presents no longer surprises and satisfies them. What’s more, they’re likely to come to expect bigger and better things and will even want to pick out their own presents. All of this can end up being very detrimental.

Let’s remember that, these days, it’s common for children to constantly receive gifts. There are many moments where it’s customary to give presents, such as birthdays, Christmas, and other holidays as well. Not to mention the times we give our children presents as rewards for good behavior or some accomplishment. But if this becomes too constant, it stops being special.

The importance of emotional gifts

Therefore, it’s better to opt for emotional gifts. Not only do they help prevent consumerism and materialism, but they also promote values. What’s more, they promote true and lasting happiness that’s beneficial to their overall development.

To better explain the theory of emotional gifts, we must first talk about pedagogue and psychologist  Andres Paris. Paris has conducted a great deal of research on the subject and written several books as well.

According to this author, there are a variety of types of emotional gifts that we can give our children. With that in mind, we’ll describe some of the most interesting examples below:

  1. Time. Without a doubt, it’s important to spend quality time with children. Even if you don’t have a lot of free time in your schedule, there are a number of activities that we can share together. For example, playing sports, reading books, playing board games, etc. These moments are worth more to your little ones than any material object you could give them. We know life can be stressful and you need to work. But don’t forget to share special moments with your little ones. You’ll see how this relieves stress and strengthens your bond.
  2. Smiles. Sometimes, all you need to do is look at your children and give them a smile. According to Andres Paris, this is a contagious gift, since you’ll almost always cause your children to smile as well.
  3. Hugs. Emotional gifts are always precious and meaningful. Skin-to-skin contact brings you closer together and creates strong emotional bonds.
  4. Notes. You can leave a short note for your child with a loving phrase, drawing, or some other detail you know will be meaningful. Leave it somewhere where you’ll know they’ll find it and be surprised.
  5. An applause. If your child has done something that deserves recognition, this is a great way to show your pride and support. Applauding your children, or giving them high fives, shows them that you notice and appreciate what they’re doing.

Emotional gifts: Something children never forget

“As human beings we all want to be happy and free from misery. We have learned that the key to happiness is inner peace. The greatest obstacles to inner peace are disturbing emotions such as anger and attachment, fear and suspicion, while love and compassion, a sense of universal responsibility are the sources of peace and happiness.”

– Dalai Lama –

So, take advantage of the numerous benefits of emotional gifts and enjoy a closer and deeper relationship with your children. Thanks to small gestures like notes, hugs, and smiles, you’ll develop a much more intimate bond. And the trust that you develop will help you overcome any challenges or problems that come your way.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • París, A. De Miguel, D. (2019). Entrenando a madres y padres: 44 propuestas prácticas que te ayudarán a mejorar la educación de tus hijos. Independently Published: Madrid.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.