5 Reasons Why You Should Spend More on Family Vacations than on Toys

Before you decide to part with a cool PhP25,000 for the latest Nintendo Switch bundle for your kid’s birthday, hold that thought. Add another PhP1,000 to that amount and you can already book a quick weekend getaway with the whole family. Check out five reasons why you should spend your money on family vacations instead of toys.

by Leah C. Eriguel, 10 August 2017

Parents have been wasting loads of money on toys when the ultimate love-bomb for your child is a family holiday, says Oliver James, bestselling psychologist and author of the book, Love Bombing: Reset Your Child’s Emotional Thermostat. Below are five eye-openers to prove your money is better spent creating family memories than buying the latest “it” toy or gadget for your kids.

1.  Children value family vacations both in the moment and even long after, in their memories.

Research shows that adults find experiences from traveling more fulfilling than buying stuff. Kids are no different. A toy will eventually lose its interest-factor and a gadget will need to be upgraded in about a year or two. But memories of goofing around with mom and dad while on holiday, that’s the stuff that gets talked about for years on end until it becomes family legend. Investment-wise, the choice is obvious.

2. Family vacations serve to de-stress both parents and children.

While it’s a given that we experience stress dealing with our everyday lives, a recent survey showed that children from ages eight to 14 also get stressed on a regular basis. From that same survey, close to 80% kids said they felt no stress whenever their parents spent time with them. A simple staycation chilling with family creates strong bonds while de-stressing everyone—adults, and kids alike.

3. Modern ‘toys’ only distance family members, leaving children to their own worlds.

Here’s a common scenario in a Millennial home: mom and dad are busy texting on their cellphones. Big brother is hooked on Everwing and little sister is lost in her own world playing with her tablet. Family vacations give everyone a chance to spend quality time together. This brings joy to kids, and adults, too. It’s something that no expensive toy or gadget will ever be able to give.

4.  A child’s brain development is improved through travel.

Whether it’s a road trip or a visit to another country, traveling activates critical areas in a child’s brain. Dr. Margot Sunderland of The Centre for Child Mental Health in the UK says that family vacations open up the “play and seek” systems in children, something that rarely happens in the confines of our homes nowadays.

5. Family vacations serve as ‘happiness anchors.’

Another survey showed that 49% of people cited family vacations as being the source of their happiest memories. They also said that they would often bring up these memories to get them through tough times. Psychologists call this the “happiness anchor,” where reflecting on joyful family memories serve as a “happy place” and a respite during difficult times.