Do you see yourself picking a toy for your child everytime you venture out without them? Do you always give in to their demands? Do you try to cover-up your guilt with small gifts every now and then?
We all want to raise our kids to the best we can. To be honest, part of that is also linked to how much we can and want to splurge on kids and related stuff. But one thing runs in common across the spectrum, we ALL want to buy the best that our money can for our kids.
When I had my first child, I couldn’t resist the urge to buy a new toy, that cute frock or atleast nursery supplies every time I was at the mall. Every single time, I must confess that. We ended up possessing, many many toy that were suitable for her age group. But did my child really understand or appreciate the difference between wooden block-set, lego blocks and mega blocks? Is there any point in buying so many toys, one after the other? At one point she was more interested in playing with the wrapping box of the toy rather than the toy itself. Probably the wrapping box provided a better visual stimuli than the toy itself, which was a variation of something she had already played with either at home or playschool.
Overtime, I learnt that it’s much more enriching to direct that money towards other experiences. Like watching a play together based on one of the classics that she has already read. I love the way she gets totally immersed in the scenes and I love the free flowing exchange of thoughts on our drive back home. I cherish those moments as much as she does, I think. A children’s movie is a good experience always, so is visit to the aquarium or zoo or even swimming pool.
Planning a playparty with her friends is my most creative outlet I think. A simple game of Housie or Uno or creating our own DIY penstand/party mask is a lot of fun and entertainment for the whole gang. My daughter loves non-stove cooking and I just love seeing the sparkle in her eyes when we pick the items together from the supermart.
Occasional trips to kids playzones or planning a shot vacation is our favorite thing in the world. I think just the mention of family holiday turns on our happy hormones. Time spent driving around the mountains, chit-chatting about just any nonsense, when their interests are genuinely taken into account, walking hand in hand with full family, I think all of these make an everlasting positive impression.
My own fondest memories are those spent with my mom making my favorite shahi tukra or hot potato chips whenever and at whatever hour that I wanted, packing our knick-knacks for the annual summer holiday, stories from my buas and nani when they came over to stay with us. I don’t really remember having a favorite toy myself. Though I remember the excitement of picking and reading a new book from the school library every week. And I have invested in a good set of books for my kids and set aside a time every day to read them together atleast for 20 mins.
Time spent with my own dad when I was stresse d about studies or during long drives when we talked endlessly about anything and everything under the sun. I infact looked forward to those long drives as that gave me an infinite window to ask any and every question. How patiently and with so much wisdom he made sure to answer every single question.
I infact relive many of those happy family moments to cope through difficult situations today. Family holidays are valued by children, not only in the short run but also afterwards. And so I feel spending on experiences is way way way better than buying many toys.
Drop in a line if you agree with my thoughts.