Just because it’s wrapped in pretty paper doesn’t mean it’s valuable. It’s because sometimes the best gifts aren’t appreciated until a child is older.
Here are 7 gifts that are worthy of your financial or time investment today because they “pay off” (sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively) in the long run.
- Responsibility. Have you ever met a child that has no chores? Whose parents do everything for him with little or no appreciation? Or who gets everything she wants AND an expensive gift for her birthday? Teaching your children responsibility is a gift! By coddling a child, you do them a disservice to be prepared for life outside the home. Encourage them to volunteer, help around the house, get a holiday-job, and take responsibility for their actions and their future. Teach them how to do a budget, the importance of paying their bills on time, keep commitments, keep promises made, and be punctual. Responsibility is as much about valuing yourself as it is about valuing others. It builds independence, which is crucial for relationships, tertiary studies, work life, and mental health.
- A savings account. Consider opening a savings account or purchasing savings bonds for your children. Although savings accounts don’t typically earn a ton of interest, you’ve got time on your side and an opportunity to teach your children the importance and value of saving money.
- Academic Coaching. Being able to learn independently and successfully applying your knowledge, are just two of a long list of benefits your children will receive from professional academic coaching. Unlike tutoring, which focuses on reteaching academic information, academic coaching focuses on building learning skills, strategies and tactics that enables a child to become an independent learner. Definitely a gift with life-long benefits.
- A love of reading. Do your children have a library card? Do they have access to paper books or e-books? Head to a used or new bookstore, create a local book exchange with other parents, or find out when the book store is having their next sale. Few loves will take them further in life than a love of reading!
- Failure. Watching your child fail is hard, sometimes even heart breaking. But it’s a necessary part of life and knowing how to handle failure, a life skill every child should have. How else do they learn from their mistakes? Part of the beauty of failure is that it encourages us to take risks and learn that we can manage the results, no matter what they may be.
- Memberships. Teaching your children what it means to be a member of a group or club, is a gift in itself. What better way to help them experience the joys, responsibilities and value a membership brings, than to encourage them to become a member of a (formal or informal) group or club? Being part of something bigger than themselves, taking ownership of their role within that group or club, and understanding that others are depending on them, are just a few of the gifts your children will receive.
- Your time. This is probably the most valuable gift of all. Eat dinner as a family. Read to your children at bedtime (or have them read to you). Go cycling, fishing, hiking or camping together, or just picnic and stargaze from your garden. Teach them to bake, have a family movie night at home, or tell each other silly jokes. Let them know, through your words AND your actions, that they are your greatest gifts!