Best Gifts For Kids: Knowledge & Experience

Jun 21
I must admit I cannot resist educational toys and kids arts & crafts supplies. Not because I am obsessed with buying, but because I believe that they are means of expanding my children’s interests that will motivate them to pursue further learning. As a result, their desks are full of project books, threads, beads, slime ingredients and anything in between.

However, toys on their own are only good when they are capable of building a bridge to skills a child can apply in real life. As the famous football player Christian Ronaldo said, the best gift parents can give their children is knowledge. And I’ll add to that - Experience.

It is through knowledge and experience our children will be more fit to stand the harsh winds of life. It is through knowledge and experience they will form their opinions based on their own understandings of the matter, and not on opinions of others around them. It is through knowledge and experience they will learn about themselves, their strengths and areas to develop, to follow the path that they feel is right and true for them.

In this article, I’ll share a few tips of how to fill kids’ hearts with these two values.

1. Expose them to meaningful things.

Do you want your child to understand classic music? Bring them to a concert where they’ll be amazed by soul-touching sounds of violin, harp, flute and other instruments.
Do you want them to learn to draw? How about a masterclass with a professional artist who can show how book illustration works?

Or, use your own creativity to involve kids in interesting activities around the house, such as re-designing their own room.

Find an activity that is likely to captivate your child’s emotions and help them learn through heart, not brain.

2. Find work you can share in the short term.

One of the things that concerns me as a parent is that every school holiday is filled with fun activities for my kids. While it’s a great way to break the routine and re-charge the energy, more and more I feel it is time to introduce my kids to work.

First, because work helps self-discipline. Second, it gives valuable knowledge, experience and appreciation of work others do for us.

Some ideas that work for me (and done with kids help) are distributing flyers or magazines in mail boxes, or working at a local farm along with me, or volunteering. These are short term projects (usually a few days during school holidays). Your kids can be helping around doing simple things that contribute to the bigger task. Not only it will give them the opportunity to see others at work, but it will give them great insights into what types of activities they like and don’t like doing in the future.  
       
3. Involve kids in decision making.

Encourage your child to have voice when important family decisions are made. Ask their opinion and discuss pros and cons. It is no secret kids like to copy adults and may sound very confident about their opinions.

Yet, being an adult is not only the about ability to make decisions and sound out opinions. It is also about willingness to take responsibility of their decisions.

This is one of the things kids need to learn early. They should learn to make decisions and be responsible for them. And it’s better done in the safe environment with you, the parent, by their side.

4. Culture the love of reading.

I don’t want to sound trivial as everyone knows about benefits for reading and its effect on brain development. However, it is great when reading is viewed as a goal, and not just the means of passing school exams.

Many scientists, teachers, successful businessmen include reading books (not social posts or articles) into their daily routing along with exercise and other activities that are important to them. Reading is viewed as a way to self-education which does not have the end goal and is one of the most valuable investments a person can make in their life.

I used the word “culture” because often it is a process and not every child is born with love for reading. And the first people to plant these seeds are parents and the family, followed by teachers, tutors, etc.

So, view cultivation of passion for reading as one of the many responsibilities parents have, like regular cooking or washing kids’ clothes. It is definitely the one you don’t want to delegate to others because of the impact it has on the future of your child.

5. Show your own excitement of learning.

When you read my blog articles, you’ll notice that the main idea I am transmitting is the paramount role of parents in kids’ education. And by that I mean not only academic education, but also self-education based on real life experiences.

It is hard to overestimate the power parents have on how children perceive the world. If you want to teach your child about healthy food, you need to eat healthy in the first place. If you want them to love reading, you need to enjoy reading so they see this is an exciting activity. You are the example that forms beliefs and behaviours of your child. And you are powerful in cultivating habits you want your child carry into adulthood.

So, share with them how learning helps you personally to achieve your goals. Maybe you have regrets of not studying and can talk about the steps you can take to change that. Maybe your child can be your help in navigating you through areas you want to learn about?

Be that change you want to see in your child. Be their inspiration. Help them acquire knowledge and experience early so they stand their grounds when the wind of life changes and you are not around.

Be the best parent you can now, without delay.
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