Give Adventures, Not Stuff

Give Adventures, Not Stuff

Bobbie is playing with his favorite dinosaurs when sister Susie reaches out to take some from him. He screams, she cries, and Mom yells. It’s a classic scene in many homes that replays itself daily. As parents, we work on teaching our children to share their toys and not snatch them from others so we can avoid these kinds of scenes, but it seems like we have to keep teaching the same lesson over and over.

mother and young daughter going on a hike

While there’s no getting around teaching this lesson each time snatching and refusing to share occur, there is something you can do to encourage your children to value people over things. Consider giving your children adventures rather than stuff when it comes to gift giving. Go ahead and ask grandparents and other gift-givers to do the same.

Should you stop giving your children gifts altogether? Not at all. But minimizing the amount of stuff that comes into your home while maximizing time with loved ones is a win-win for all. Here are a few ideas to help you adopt this type of gift-giving:

It’s never too early to start giving adventures rather than things. Take a 1-year-old to the park, take a 2-year-old to McDonald’s, bake cookies with 3- and 4-year-olds, and watch cranes and dump trucks at a construction site with a 5-year-old. It’s about time spent together, not doing something fancy.

It’s OK—and even preferable–to mix things up a bit regarding cost. Some years you may make a pinata together, and some years you may go to the circus. Be sure to avoid a scenario of outdoing last year’s adventure every year.

If you don’t live in the same town, be creative. A birthday adventure can occur several months before or after a birthday. Your goal is to spend memorable time with the child even if it doesn’t fall on their actual birthday.

If you don’t want to give up gift-giving altogether, give adventures for birthdays and gifts for Christmas, or vice versa.

Make a list of the adventures your child would like to help grandparents and others. Include simple as well as more complex choices. Revise the list each year since the child’s interests and abilities change.

Get creative! And if you need ideas, ask Unjumbled.

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