The key to children’s happiness is child’s play…
There’s a range of research that says experiences bring people more happiness than material goods.
The same principle applies to family life.
There’s a temptation in our current culture to ply our kids with stuff.
It’s hard as kids want stuff – clothes, toys, gadgets, technology. The reasons are varied including:
“…because it’s new.”
“…all my friends have one.”
“…you’ve always given me stuff.”
Differentiate between needs and wants
One filter you can use when kids come to you asking for stuff is to ask, “Is this something you need or something you want?”
Kids often want a great deal of stuff but they don’t necessarily need stuff.
Help them understand the difference.
Better to spoil them with experiences such as:
- One-on-one time with a parent (do something together)
- Two–on-one time with parents (spending time with both parents)
- Going somewhere new and fun (a park, museum or movie)
- Doing something outside (walking, playing a game, camping in the backyard)
- Doing something risky and new (giant swing, catching a train alone and meeting them at the station)
The list of experiences you can provide is endless so you don’t need me to point them out.
But think about the experiences versus the stuff that you provide for your kids. If you err on the side of giving kids heaps of stuff at the expense of experiences, then I encourage you to swing the pendulum the other way.
Doing so will save you money and take more of your time, but will result in richer relationships and a myriad of memories sure to outlast any stuff you buy them.
NB: For more parenting tips and tricks, be sure to check out my Parenting Ideas website.
A popular presenter, Michael Grose speaks to parents, teachers and principals on a regular basis.Michael comes from an education background, and has conducted post-graduate research into what makes healthy families tick.He's given over 1500 parenting presentations, including the first parenting seminar in Parliament House, Canberra.Michael is married with three adult children who have all successfully flown the parent nest.