As a child, when you think of your birthday coming up, all you can think about is the gifts you are looking forward to receiving from your friends and family. Once you reach adulthood, you start to realize that your memories are much more important to you than gifts that you had for no longer than 2-3 years. I’ve been finding that as my children grow older each year, material items are becoming increasingly more important than fun experiences with family and friends that will last a lifetime. Since this has become a common theme with my children, I’ve been trying to incorporate big trips and small gifts into certain birthdays with an age milestone.
For my oldest son’s sixteenth birthday, instead of buying him a new computer game or a new phone, I took him out of the country for the first time to explore New York City for a week.
After getting off the internet and social media and exploring somewhere new and exciting, my son no longer looks forward to getting new materialistic items and instead looks forward to going out into the world and making memories that will last forever. After returning from the trip, my son could not stop talking about the trip and the experiences he had exploring the cities many iconic sights. Being the oldest son, he has some influence over the other children, and now for all of their big birthdays, my children look forward to taking a trip with their parents rather than getting new toys and devices. My children now perform better in school and behave better at home, and I’ve noticed a drastic improvement in their morale and moods.
The experiences have not only had a positive impact on my children’s lives but mine as well. It has given me more time to spend one on one with each of my children, as well as helped build new memories with them that will last a lifetime. I have learned more about my children on these short trips than I do in longer periods of time at home. It has also brought back memories of my childhood and brought more fun into my life.
Experiences with your family can’t be beaten and I wish I had more with my family when I was younger. Try to make these experiences with your children because they won’t be children forever.