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Christmas is a magical time of year by all accounts. Families gather together; good food is prepared, carols are sung, and, of course, gifts are exchanged.
Every parent wants to give their child the most magical and uplifting Yuletide experience, and generally, this will include toys and gifts that are designed to be as amusing and engaging as possible.
Every once in a while, though, it can be a good idea to give your kid a more “practical” gift. Something that makes them feel more grown-up, and helps to begin instilling the kinds of positive habits that can serve them well in later life. That’s not to say, by any means, that you should only give practical gifts. Just that adding one to the pile by the Christmas tree is a good idea.
Here are some gift ideas to help your kids feel more grown-up.
Age-appropriate tools and services that allow them to save towards future goals
Children are often really fascinated by the idea of money, and especially by the idea of saving up and practicing deferred gratification in the name of some more meaningful goal down the line. As financial responsibility is a major factor in someone’s ability to live a successful life as an adult, it’s good to encourage these positive habits at an early age.
Age-appropriate tools and services that allow for saving towards future goals may be a better gift for kids than just an old-fashioned piggy bank, as they also encourage awareness and reflection on the goal behind the saving.
Goalsetter is a great example of a service that allows kids to set their goals (with the oversight of their parents) and begin saving up.
Paper planners and notebooks
The ability to manage tasks and projects and plan out our time is a major component of our ability to be successful with just about anything we do in life.
Kids may not have much patience and awareness for structured note-taking and planning, but they are generally quite fascinated by the idea of controlling and structuring their lives in some sense — even if only in theory.
By giving your child appropriately formatted paper planners and notebooks — assuming they’ve learned the basics of reading and writing — you create a great avenue for them to begin experimenting with record taking, which in turn helps them to formulate their thoughts more clearly.
Bags, boxes, and equipment for tidying up and organizing their rooms
An old parenting trick is to have a star chart up somewhere in the house and reward your child with gold stars for every time they achieve something productive around the house that you appreciate.
For example, you may encourage your child to clean up their room, and then reward them for this behavior. Not only does this help to reduce the amount of clutter and mess in the room, and the house more generally, but it also gets the child to begin approaching life from a position of self-sufficiency.
Providing your child with bags, boxes, and other relevant equipment for tidying up and organizing their rooms can help a lot here, too.