Why you should Give your Kids Experiences, Not Things
With a swish of a finger and a click on the mobile phone, it would only take me five minutes to order at least three toys for the kids that would be getting home-delivered within a few days. Wouldn’t even need to leave the house. Score!
No. Not really. The kids would be just as happy feeding the ducks or playing at the park– and it’s free!
In fact, that money we spend on toys could be much better spent on an experience instead which would be much more valuable in the long run. It could be a family holiday or weekend away, or it could be something simple like tickets to a show, going out on a bike ride and picnic somewhere close by.
Experiences are much better than things and there are so many reasons why!
7 Reasons Why Experiences are Better than Things
It’s not to say that you can’t give your child any toys. It’s just that experiences have many more benefits for kids than “things”:
1. Less clutter in the home and the landfill
Firstly, material things are just that – material. They eventually lose their significance. Sure, the kids are excited now with their brand new toys. But give it a week or two, even a couple of months, and those toys will find their new home under the bed or behind the couch. Perhaps even hidden in the corner where nobody looks, just gathering dust.
Soon you will find yourself Marie Kondo’ing your house and you’ll come across these toys. Whether you donate them or toss them out, those toys will eventually find their way to the landfill.
Save yourself the stress and headache of keeping up with the house cleaning. With less things in the home, the faster and easier it is to clean, so you can have more time to do what truly matters – spending time with your kiddos. Mother Nature will thank you too.
2. Seeing the world and learning other cultures
The world is vast and there’s so much to see and learn. You only get to have one lifetime; you need to make the most out of it. And it’s time to have that philosophy ingrained in your children’s minds too.
When you take your kids travelling, you don’t only show them the world, you also teach them about the world. The diversity, the vibrancy, the poverty, the wealth, the evil, the kindness – things that are difficult, if not impossible, to learn with just tangible things.
They will learn about other cultures, hear different languages, taste new delicacies, meet diverse groups of people. Your kids will also grow up getting the thrill of seeing magnificent places only a fortunate few have.
As they grow up, their gratitude for the opportunity of gaining experiences and knowledge will be immense. They will be worldly, yet humble.
As quickly as material things lose its magic, the joy kids get from the novelty of new things wears off. Kids will outgrow their toys and flashy gadgets; these things provide temporary happiness. Another toy will be the next biggest craze and the cycle starts.
There’s no satisfying the material need, and as parents, you fall into the same trap. You want our kids to have the best, the latest, or the cutest. But when you acquire these things, are you truly happy? Maybe for a hot second, while you already eye the next prize.
Experiences provide a more satisfying and substantial happy feeling. One that no other material thing can provide. One that cannot be thrown away. A feeling that lasts because you always have the memories to look back on and to remember.
As the temporary happiness wears off, you look for another source of happiness. You keep looking and you keep wanting. It’s a craving that never seems to be satisfied. So, you keep buying. Eventually, your home is cluttered, your bank account is tapped out, and your life – well, still feels lacking. There’s no real substance to satiate the need to be fulfilled.
With experiences, there is a sense of completeness. Your kids learn to appreciate what they have and realize that an experience is just as exciting as a tangible gift.
Experiences make them realize they have everything they need – their loved ones together, happy and forming stronger relationships and lasting memories. These are lasting imprints your children take with them forever.
When you think back to your childhood, do you recall all the toys you received every holiday or birthday? Or are the cherished memories of family traditions, Sunday dinners, road trips, fishing in the lake, and roasting marshmallows while camping?
Sure, it’s difficult to take your kids out and about.
They might whine about walking too much. They might keep asking “are we there yet?” every five minutes.
It might be such an inconvenience to have to run and find the nearby restroom when you’re potty-training.
But power through, because the memories that you will form during these family trips will serve as a reminder that they were loved, wanted, and that they had a great childhood.
Your family will form traditions, inside jokes, and share laughter and tears. They’ll realize that even the simplest of experiences can be thrilling and fun. And most notably, they learn something about you – that you were there and that you care.
Decades from now, these beautiful memories will continue to put a smile on their faces whenever they think of you no matter where they are in the world. It might even put a smile on more faces as they tell stories of your family adventures to their children and grandchildren.
6. Better Relationships
The more time you spend with your children, the better your relationship gets. Your children will feel your love for them. They may not know it now or they may not know how to express it. But these children will grow up to be adults who will love hanging out with you because you hung out with them all those years when they were little.
Studies have shown that the more parents are involved in their children, the better they perform in their endeavors.
By giving your kids the gift of experience, you are not only forming a strong bond between you, but you are also helping them succeed.
After all, children are like sponges. When and how you interact with them teaches them something about you and how they should interact with others around them.
They enhance their communication skills and their behavior toward their peers. And with you as their guide, they develop and evolve into adults, who others love to be around.
7. Learn manners and good behavior
Maybe you don’t want to give your kids experiences because it’s such a hassle to take them outside. You want to avoid crowds and having to deal with tantrums in public. But you are missing out on great teachable moments.
Never mind passersby who whisper and throw judging looks at you. You won’t ever see them again. Focus on your kids and help them understand how to politely say they’re hungry and don’t want to stand in the long queue to get on the rollercoaster. Tell them it’s okay to cry when they’re hurt or sad, but they don’t need to hurt you when they’re uncomfortable in an airplane.
Giving kids experiences is not only beneficial to your children, but also to you as it provides you with an outstanding number of teachable moments as you navigate the world of child-rearing. As your kids grow up, these experiences are a great foundation to their well-being and the persons they will become.
Experiences don’t need to cost the Earth
There are many ways to gift experience to your children without spending thousands of dollars on airline tickets and going overseas. You can get them memberships museums, zoos, amusement parks, or the local indoor park. You can take them to a nearby city, go on a road trip, hike a local trail, go fishing, go on a bike ride, or play some catch on your yard. The sky is the limit!
There are so many great benefits to giving your children experiences rather than things.
Perhaps the best benefit for you as a parent, is getting to spend quality time with each other.
Looking to travel with your kids? Take a look at our travel tips, then take a look at some of our travel posts for inspiration!