family enjoying their vacation in the beach

Why Experiences are More Important than Gifts

Are you a busy parent that does not seem to have enough time for your child? Many in this situation think that they can make up for their shortcomings by giving gifts. In some cases, this may work, but your long-term absence has a profound effect on a child’s psyche.

Form a Strong Bond

Research from the University of Toronto led by Cindy Chan cites that experiences create a stronger bond between parent and child compared to giving them a gift.

“The reason experiential gifts are more socially connecting is that they tend to be more emotionally evocative. An experiential gift elicits a strong emotional response when a recipient consumes it – like the fear and awe of a safari adventure, the excitement of a rock concert or the calmness of a spa – and is more intensely emotional than a material possession,” Ms. Chan added.

The experiential gift does not have to be expensive. It can come in the form of a video clip of the time you spent with your child playing in the park, going to the beach or a dinner out as a family. You can also provide them with a memento of that event, whether it is a soundtrack or photo album.

Experiences last a lifetime and have immediate positive effects. If your child knows you are there for them, they will feel more confident in whatever they do, whether it is in school or extracurricular activities. This carries over into their teenage and even adult years. This lifelong impression on them is something they will cherish.

Experiential Gift Ideas

family ski bonding

“Outings, experiences & vacations are valued by children, both in the moment and for long afterwards in their memory. It is all about talking nonsense with your parents, sharing an ice cream and moments in which your interests are genuinely taken into account. So, if you’re going to spend money on something, it’s pretty clear which option makes more sense,” Oliver James, psychologist and author, said.

Oliver James said it best with his quote above; spend time with your children and create a memory bank of experiences. Here are some ideas to achieve this:

  • Travel as often as possible; going to different cities, watching a Sentosa light show like Wings of Time in Singapore, or visiting a new country are experiences you can share with your entire family. Shared new experiences help build a strong relationship and connection. These are memories you and your child will never forget.
  • Dine out; eat at your child’s favourite restaurant or fast food chain. Let them order their food and enjoy each other’s company while eating burgers, fries or pizza. Set dates weekly or multiple times within the week. This predictability excites your child and may even help them get through the busy school week.
  • Share an activity together; go play football, rugby, basketball or any sport your child shows interest in. Join a club or parent-child program where you can spend time together. It can be as simple as playing in the park or swimming in a public pool.

The alternative spelling for love is T-I-M-E, spend as much time as possible with your child. The experiences you share with each other helps them become a holistic person.

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