What’s on kids 2017 most wanted list? Experiences, not toys.
Let’s face it; the holidays will always have a place for building block sets and fashion dolls. But as much as children like to see brightly colored packages filled with the latest, trendiest toys, what they really want is you!
A recent study showed that 9-year-olds placed “Spending time with family” higher on a list of importance than “Getting new toys.”
In fact, the same research revealed that children would rather play a board game with their sibling than play the latest video game.
“What the study shows us is that kids are craving fun, relaxed time with their parents and siblings,” says Dr. Cassandra Vern, director of early learning for Mid-Florida Learning Development.
“A few hours of no-pressure engagement with your child can go a long way in the development of the relationship.”
Dr. Vern says the most wanted gift is the interaction. The time spent together doesn’t have to break the bank. There’s no need to go to a costly amusement park or make a grand gesture. Vern says a picnic with a lawn game or playing a half-hour basketball game then grabbing an ice cream cone could have the same euphoric effects as higher cost options.
While it might be fun to look forward to a yearly vacation, the events are often over-hyped and under-rated. The days leading up to the trip can be stressful and even raise anxiety levels. “It sounds counter-intuitive, but a simple afternoon where your child feels like the only kid in the world can render a fonder life-long memory than an expensive trip.”
Here are some suggestions for non-traditional “gifts of time:”
- Picnic and lawn game
- A pajama day – build a pillow fort and hang out in it
- Let your child plan dinner, shop together, then get cooking
- Round of basketball or favorite sport (play for fun!)
- An hour of playing at the park, followed by a special snack
- Baking your child’s favorite treat – together
- An afternoon of board games
- Write a story, illustrate it, then take turns reading it to each other
- Go back in time – spend a couple of hours looking at old pictures and reminiscing
- What makes your child the happiest? Sign up for a class together
Whatever you choose to gift your children with this year, think of ways you can inject more relaxed bonding time into it.
It may be no surprise that one of the best ways to make a child feel special is to turn off your devices while spending your gift of time together.