It’s coming up to that crazy time of year when we feel overwhelmed with how busy we are, yet excited for the coming holiday season. Trying to find gifts for our children is a daunting task with the huge array of choices presented to us.
This article will give you some guidance to help you and your family find gifts that you can feel good about giving.
Rule no 1:
It is perfectly ok to let family and friends with whom you exchange gifts know if you don’t like to have particular types of movies or games in the house. There is nothing wrong with saying “please check with me first before buying”. The bottom line is our children’s wellbeing after all. Let people know if you only want “G” rated items for example. Adult games ARE NOT for young children. The jury is still out as to how playing virtual reality style games influences young children, but to err on the side of caution is a great rule of thumb.
Rule No 2:
Go with your gut. It can be so easy to fall into the trap that every other child has something and you don’t want yours to be left out, but if you honestly feel inside that your child isn’t ready for something, then chances are you are right. There is always an alternative and the few innocent years of childhood are worth preserving. Discuss with your child why you feel something is not appropriate at any given time. When children are first learning about mobile devices everything is new, so don’t forget the “old school” games which are available as apps like Scrabble, Yahtzee , Connect 4).
Rule no 3:
Set some ground rules about how long children can play with new electronic toys and mobile devices, and what is appropriate behaviour when using them. There is a responsibility that comes with owning sophisticated items and it is a good idea to make sure your children understanding that having such items is a privilege rather than a right.
Rule No 4:
When downloading apps onto mobile devices, it is really worth paying a few dollars to get the “ad free” variety. Even some of the most innocent looking free games can have most inappropriate advertising, often with “floating’ links which your child may accidently click.
Rule No 5: Check and recheck that the app or ibook you are purchasing is the right one – there can be several apps with the same or similar names and whilst one might be suitable for your youngster, the other may not.
Other handy hints:
Books: Don’t forget the joy a good old fashioned book can bring. Bright colours and illustrations along with the feel of the pages and covers all add to a fun learning experience.
Consider your local library – why not give a gift of a membership – it’s a gift that keeps giving (and not just books, there are usually DVDs and other collections too). For children around 7-10 it can be a great time to introduce some of the classic tales such as Huckleberry Finn.
Give the gift of giving: Consider some of the wonderful ethical and humanitarian gifts available today. Help your child plant a seed or buy an underprivileged child a gift of food , clean water or education or even a goat! (think Oxfam and similar organisations) . Consider sponsorship of a child to help teach your child about charity and making a difference.cal library – why not give a gift of a membership – it’s a gift that keeps giving (and not just books, there are usually DVDs and other collections too). For children around 7-10 it can be a great time to introduce some of the classic tales such as Huckleberry Finn.
Digital and physical scrapbooking: Sites where your children can be creative (and safe) are great fun and there is usually a free section and then an upgraded membership. For older children Flixpress http://www.flixpress.com/ lets you make cool videos).
With any online activity, you need to check out what is going on in the community. Many sites although offering great opportunities for your child to learn how to communicate and engage online, may also have games and activities of different levels which may not be suitable.
Spend up to an hour online being creative, then give your children some lovely scrapbooking papers and tools and let them try the “real” version!
Other gifts: Memberships to the Zoo, Scienceworks or other organisations which not only bring pleasure for your child, but providing learning experiences and a great way to ensure regular family outings.
Buy a tent and get out into the great outdoors. Sleeping bags and other camping gear make great gifts too.
Do try and take some time to research, or post your question on our facebook page or send an email to email@example.com and we will do our best to find out about the particular program or item for you.
Opinions in this article are my own and I welcome discussion 🙂