Leading child psychologists say parents have been wasting money on toys and instead should be spending the money on vacations with their children.
Oliver James, a best-selling psychological author of numerous books on parent-child relationships, says a large percentage of toys parents give children aren’t actually wanted or valued. A classic example is seeing a child choose to play with the box that a toy came in after opening the present.
James says, “The whole business of providing material commodities for kids—in ever more expensive forms as they get older—is entirely, 100 percent, about propping up the industry that profits from it.”
He goes on to say that family vacations are definitely valued by children, both in the moment and long afterward in their memory. Oliver suggests if you’re going to spend money on something for your kids, the best return is spending it on vacations. Just like adults, kids regard experiences like traveling as more fulfilling than just buying more stuff.
The big benefit of choosing to spend more money on vacations and less money on toys is that it provides the opportunity for children to have prolonged periods of time with their parents. It gives families time to spend together outside of the pressure of everyday life, where they can relax and play together.
Most of the toys parents give their children in today’s videogame, digital-play driven world are toys that put distance between them. Children end up playing on their own screen, whether it’s the screen of a TV, computer, laptop, tablet, gaming system or other mobile device. But on a vacation, children and parents tend to spend more time together in face-to-face interaction. This is what children really value.
Encourage the parents in your ministry to spend less money on “toys” for their children. Encourage them instead to take some of the money and invest it it in vacation experiences with their children. This is what kids will really remember and value, long after their toys are landfill in a local dump.
This article originally appeared here.