Hey everyone, we are in London this week and loving it! We have a great guest blog post from Michele at Love Laugh Caribbean !
I hope you’ll enjoy her article and check her blog out. Keep an eye on our Instagram for the latest photos and travel tips.
Kids need experiences!
Kids today have become a generation addicted to screens. We all too often see them with a smart phone, iPad, tablet, laptop or TV in front of their faces. What started as a way for children to learn turned into the modern day babysitter for busy parents.
Kids are also demanding the latest and greatest video games, cool tennis shoes and best clothes. Kids that are given everything in life grow up feeling entitled and unappreciative of what things cost.
Parents need to stop buying everything for their kids and get them out to see the world.
This doesn’t mean trips to Paris and Italy and putting yourself in debt so your children can see the world. This means to take them to the park, the zoo, the local food shelter, the beach, the mountains; anywhere they can build memories with you. ‘Stuff’ breaks and loses its luster over time. No one can take a memory away.
Experiences make us happier in the long run.
Bright shiny presents make us all happy initially. How long does that happiness last? After a few days, the initial luster wears off; after a few weeks, we see a better version and suddenly we’re unhappy with our brand new product. The bright and shiny tend not to wear off of an experience. A weekend camping trip can provide memories and traditions that last forever. A day zip-lining will forever be engrained in our brains. A week at the beach with family- priceless.
Family time is irreplaceable.
When someone buys a gift for another person, often that person enjoys that item alone. Giving someone an experience, gives them you as well. My boyfriend and I do not buy presents for each other; we put that money toward our next trip.
Over the years, we have severely cut back on what we get our kids as gifts. They have everything that they need, but don’t have an excess of anything. Ask any one of them, they’d rather go and do something over getting the $100 pair of tennis shoes.
Spending time as a family is something that families as a whole don’t do enough of anymore. We only get about 18 years with them under our roof. I like to make the most of every second we have.
Kids don’t grow up expecting stuff as a reward.
From the time my kids were little, I rewarded them with time with us, rather than the latest new toy. Starting in kindergarten, a 100% on a test resulted in dinner and a movie with mom or dad. It was a huge joy to see my little ones get off the bus and be so excited because they got a date night with me.
This also encourages kids to work hard and have goals for their future in mind. My kids have become accustomed to traveling and all three have big goals for their future so they can continue to live the same kind of lifestyle.
It shows them how BIG our world really is.
As a nurse, I have worked around extremely smart physicians my entire life. The common denominator between all of them was their experience. Listening to any of the talk, they traveled with their family as a child. They all had an extensive multi-cultural view of things. We knew we wanted to provide this for our kids.
When we started planning our trips, we made sure they were a mix of fun, learning and a unique experience. When they were younger, we stuck to the US. We weren’t comfortable being a blended family taking all the kids out of the country when they were that little.
We started by just leaving the state. We did a tour of Florida for 2 weeks that still ranks as one of our kids favorite trips, (over our Disney vacation). Last year, we took them to Mexico. This was their first time out of the country (not counting Canada) and they were excited. They were exposed to a culture outside of the US, they got to see one of the 7 wonders of the world, and they got to see history while learning it. They’ve gotten to scuba dive and snorkel in the second largest reef in the world!
It gives them an edge in school.
The year my oldest was learning about the Civil War and Gettysburg in school, we packed up and spent a long weekend there. For him, being able to visualize where things actually happened when his teachers were talking about it in school made the concept more concrete for him. The following year, when my daughter was learning about it, she was already ahead of the game.
It makes them more loving, caring adults
Having a respect for another culture, sometimes one less fortunate than theirs, makes them grow up into more caring adults with an appreciation of what they have. Doing volunteer work in another country provides them with a perspective that most kids don’t get. Seeing that people can be happy without the newest Nikes or best video game system makes them realize what’s important in life.
Do what you can.
Not everyone can afford to hop on a plane to take their kids somewhere exotic. Lord knows we can’t. We have found ways to make 1 big trip a year a reality. Mixed in there, we go places we can drive for a few days or a long weekend. Going camping, biking, boating or hiking can give kids the same appreciation. Volunteer together at your local food bank, organize a food and clothing drive in the winter, and clean up trash at your local state park. Getting our, spending time together is what’s important!
About Love Laugh Caribbean
Michele is a nurse, scuba diver and travel blogger. Her boyfriend Jim and their three kids love to travel to new places. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.