It’s that time of the year when it’s all about giving and sharing. What is the best gift you can give to your child? Instead of buying the latest hottest gadget and the great toy your child wanted for a while, the best thing to do is a vacation trip for the whole family. Presents are here this year but gone and forgotten by the next month. Family getaways have a positive impact on a child’s well-being and overall happiness. Furthermore, a child will keep the memory of a great vacation spent with the family, and we all know how much those first memories matter when we are adults, how they shape us and form us into the adults that we are today. This is a win-win for everyone, and it’s scientifically proven.
According to Oliver James, a child clinical psychologist, spending your money on a family getaway is way better than a new toy. There is a great chance that after the initial excitement, your child will just be bored with the new toy that he or she wanted months before they got it. However, family holidays and memories will remain with them. Oliver James told to The Telegraph:
“Family holidays are valued by children, both in the moment and for long afterward in their memory. It’s all about talking nonsense with your parents, sharing an ice cream and moments of time in which your interests are genuinely taken into account.”
This is not shocking, right? After all, we are always told by life coaches, gurus and media to spend our money on experiences, not on stuff. Why should we do things differently when buying things for others especially children, those little creatures that we love so much? Spending time with family is psychologically better for a child than giving them a new Xbox and letting them do whatever they want.
On top of this, according to researchers, a road trip is probably the best option since it might advance the brain development of a child. The more places a child sees, the better for his brain.
According to a study from 2010 published in Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, neuroscientists, Jaak Panksepp concluded that the brain’s play system and the urge to explore and discover new things can be exercised when they are in new places. These areas of the brain which are placed deep in the limbic system don’t get that much action when a child is at home or other familiar and everyday places. As explained by The Telegraph:
“They reduce stress and activate warm, generous feelings towards each other and a lovely sense that all is well in the world. With all the anti-stress aspects of these systems firing, family members get to emotionally refuel.”
Of course, there is one thing that can block many families from achieving this goal and taking a road trip or any other family getaway. You probably can guess what that one thing might be. It’s the cost. Not everyone can afford to just go on family vacations at any given time or even once a year or even every five years. Still, you can give a child the gift of experience. It doesn’t have to be anything too expensive or too fancy, it can be as simple as a visit to a local attraction or a city nearby. You can visit the nearest local park or you don’t have to go anywhere, you can have the simple experience of building a birdhouse or cooking a new meal together.