By Kim Shepheard
There is a ton of information out there about the best uses of your money, as well as the best uses of your time. What this blog post is about relates to how to best use both – for the betterment of your kids. When you think about how to spend your money on your kids, does your mind go directly toward practical things like food, clothing and education, or does it wander toward things they might enjoy? Do you have a family philosophy or set of values around spending money on toys vs. outings?
Not every family has a set discretionary budget for what to spend on their kids, but it may be a good idea to take stock of what is important to you for your children to experience while growing up. There is evidence out there suggesting that the less kids have, the healthier they will be mentally. Many children acquire 70 new toys per year! If they have too much choice, it can cause issues later in life by not having a realistic view of the world. There is also documentation that states that taking vacations – or otherwise having varied experiences – helps kids to have happy memories of growing up, and sets them up well for having a healthy outlook.
In our family, we try and spend as much time with our two-year-old daughter as possible. It is important to us that she has a healthy and realistic world view. We try to do this by having a significant amount of unstructured play at home since she is in daycare Monday through Friday, where there is a relatively set schedule. Unstructured play allows her to be creative and not have to share things with other kids, and helps her develop that important ability to be creative and invent her own worlds with their own set of rules that she makes up!
While we try to stick to her meal and nap time on the weekends, she has complete freedom to do as she chooses, whether it is playing outside, helping Dad in the garage, reading her books or playing with her toys or the dogs. We frequently take her to Little Monkey Bizness in Parker to do more of the same with a multitude of other children. It’s great for physical, mental and social development as well. We get there early, and she has a blast wearing herself out and is blissfully unaware that she is learning so much while having so much fun!
An old friend of mine named Tommy used to occasionally take his son toy shopping. Luke would go up and down the aisles and fill up the cart with whatever he wanted. At checkout, Luke was allowed to choose one toy, and that was what he went home with. I loved this idea! Tommy also sang the tune You Can’t Always Get What You Want for added humor. I do the song bit all the time with my daughter, and she thinks it’s hilarious. I would much rather have a fun, happy, well-adjusted child than one that is difficult to please and has less understanding of the world as she gets older.
The answer? Play. Do things. Go places. Show them things. Answer questions. We will all be better off for it!
WHO IS KIM?
Kim is a curious, passionate, results-driven marketer who loves to help companies grow. Originally from New York, she has studied in England and lived and worked in Florida and Colorado, which is now home with her husband and daughter, and she spends weekends with them at the zoo, the museum, gymnastics class and Little Monkey Bizness in Parker.