Stressing about holiday gifts and looking for alternatives to expensive toys for your children? We have exciting news for you. Gifting your children experiences coupled with bonding time might be better for their soul and mind rather than breakable toys!
In 2017, The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships surveyed close to 500 women between 18 and 93 years old and published a study. The women were asked to answer the question, “Most people feel loved when … ” — and guess what? The most popular answers had nothing to do with receiving tangible items.
“Our research found that micro-moments of positivity, like a kind word, cuddling with a child or receiving compassion make people feel most loved,” — Dr. Zita Oravecz, Human Development and Family Studies Professor at Pennsylvania State University, one of the study’s authors — told NPR.
Britain’s best-selling psychological author, Oliver James, in a conversation with The Telegraph asks “Do you have any idea what an extraordinary proportion of presents we give children aren’t actually wanted or valued?”
“Give a 2-year-old a present and she’ll get absorbed in the box instead. It’s similar with children and travel. We should let them explore their own ways of finding wonder in their surroundings,” James advised.
A British child psychologist, Dr. Margot Sunderland, wrote a piece for The Telegraph in 2017. “Aside from a potential boost to long-term happiness, vacations can make children smarter. What is less widely known is that vacations can also advance brain development in children. This is because, on a family vacation, you are exercising two genetically ingrained systems deep in the brain’s limbic area, which can all too easily be ‘unexercised’ in the home.”, writes Dr. Margot.
“These are the PLAY system and the SEEKING system (Panksepp 2016),” Sunderland adds, explaining that the brain’s PLAY system “is exercised every time you bury your child’s feet in the sand, tickle them on the pool lounger, or take them for a ride on your back. The SEEKING system is exercised each time you go exploring together: the forest, the beach, a hidden gem of a village.”
“So when you take your child on a vacation, you are supporting their explorative urge (SEEKING system) a vital resource for living life well, and their capacity to play (PLAY system). In adulthood, this translates into the ability to play with ideas — essential, for example, to the successful entrepreneur,” she added.
According to James, it’s worth noting that vacations “remove us, physically, from our highly pressured everyday lives where everyone’s focused on meeting targets. They are times when everyone can relax and be playful together.”
“This collaborative playtime — devoid of solo-focused toys and technology — is a crucial human experience, for children especially, but for adults too. Without it, life is very empty and lacking in joy,” he added.
About the pros of traveling with younger ones, James added – “Children see the world differently. Through consumption, for example, The way that French cafés have Orangina instead of Fanta is fascinating to kids, and details like that will stick with them for long after the vacation ends.”
When you travel, you gain richer experiences, create deeper relationships, and make memories that will be a source of happiness and stay with you forever. Read more about how traveling helps build relationships here.
Written by Taige Zhang
Founder of Fairytrail