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I read a study the other day that was pretty powerful which supported what I already knew— “vacations are better than gifts.” Experiences are better than toys. The question of why you should spend more money on family vacations became quite clear: it benefits the entire family for years.
Update: This post was originally published several years ago, but it still holds true today. It has been updated. 🙂
There is a reason that our kids long for the beach like I do… and it’s not because we love the beach. It is because we love our time together. We love going biking together, early in the morning. We love building sand forts or walking on the beach.
It’s not the activity as much as it is the company.
The kids want to take a walk down to the lighthouse, “just the two of us” because these things create memories and build the unbreakable bonds that only come from spending time together.
Be present in the moment.
It doesn’t matter WHAT you are doing or WHERE you are going. It matters that you are TOGETHER.
My husband grew up camping with his family. He loved everything about it: playing cards with his family, cooking over a campfire, exploring the area…
My family, on the other hand spent time at the beach. I love everything about it: riding bikes, looking out onto the water, walking on the beach, finding shells…
It doesn’t matter where you are going as long as you make it a fun, memorable experience. You can do that by being involved with your kids. Finding fun things to do together. Exploring new areas. Having conversations that matter. Finding ways to create memories because these memories will last a lifetime. Even if they don’t actually remember what they did, they will remember the feeling that they had when they were with you, when they were at that spot, when they were on vacation with family.
“It’s about talking nonsense with your parents.”
“Family holidays are valued by children, both in the moment and for long afterward in their memory,” psychologist and best-selling author Oliver James explained to The Telegraph.
“It’s all about talking nonsense with your parents, sharing an ice cream and moments of time in which your interests are genuinely taken into account. So if you’re going to spend money on something, it’s pretty clear which option makes more sense.”
If that wasn’t evidence enough, there is also proof that traveling with your kids can also be beneficial to their brain development.
“An enriched environment offers new experiences that are strong in combined social, physical, cognitive, and sensory interaction. Think: family together in the pool, walking together through the forest, touching long tall grasses waving in the wind, toasting marshmallows on campfire, hanging out together under warm sun, feeling sand between the toes,” says child psychotherapist Dr. Margot Sunderland.
Children, like adults, find travel to be more fulfilling.
“Research, of course, repeatedly indicates that, despite the fact that we go on buying more stuff, adults really regard experiences like travel as far more fulfilling. Children, says James, are no different. It’s just that they value different aspects of that travel.”
“Dad or Mum, building sandcastles, playing badminton on the beach, jumping over waves. It seems like fun, but it’s also “attachment play”, and it’s vital for bonding. Attachment play also enhances self-esteem, sending a child the psychological message: “You have my full attention. I delight in you. I delight in being with you.” ~telegraph.co.uk
You know, the toys that we give them are exciting and fun… the video games keep them busy. New movies will occupy their time, your child will never remember their favorite day of TV.
Happiness fades with things… yet lasts with experiences.
A 20-year study, conducted a psychology professor at Cornell University, found that it is better to spend money on experiences than things. The study found that the happiness that things provide us quickly fades.
Experiences, on the other hand, leave a lasting impression of on us: Happiness.
“Experiences become a part of our identity. We are not our possessions, but we are the accumulation of everything we’ve seen, the things we’ve done, and the places we’ve been. Buying an Apple Watch isn’t going to change who you are; taking a break from work to hike the Appalachian Trail from start to finish most certainly will.” – Forbes
Experiences give us memories, relationships, and happiness that lasts far more than toys, possessions, and things.
I’ll send you our one-on-one time calendar to print, along with enrolling you in our free challenge.
During this one-week challenge, I will send you one “daily challenge” email each day. The goal is to build a bond between you and your child.
Build a home that your children want to come home to. Click here to get started.