There are gifts that send your child off on his or her own. And there are gifts that bring you together. Dr. Laura Rocker thinks the most valuable gifts are the latter.
A child and adolescent psychiatrist at Akron Children’s Hospital, Dr. Rocker said gifts for kids that create shared experiences are an excellent choice for the holiday season.
Toys and gadgets have their place. But experiences promote bonding and will likely be remembered long after the toy is gone.
“A great idea for kids of all ages are gifts of time,” she said. “These are gifts that build connections.
“That’s what kids really value and what we value as parents.”
Dr. Rocker is big on creating vouchers to put under the Christmas tree.
It might be 2 or 3 vouchers for an afternoon activity of their choice. Or vouchers for events, cooking classes, ice skating, camping trips; vouchers to go to their favorite restaurant or even vouchers to get out of a week of chores (sort of like a “Get Out of Jail Free” card).
Some other ideas include:
- Movie passes, tickets to concerts or sporting events
- A night at a local hotel (with a nice pool!)
- For older girls, manicures and pedicures
- A trip to a water park or season passes to a local attraction
These experiences also show your children that you value time together.
“Things that build relationships are very important to child development,” Dr. Rocker said. “A lot of toys don’t promote interaction. They are screen-oriented or alone play. They don’t build the connections that mean so much to children.”