5 Ways to Affordably Spoil Your Child While Invigorating Your Marriage
Looking for innovative ways of developing your child’s unique personality and steps to more effective parenting? There are ways to support your child’s creativity and foster creativity in your kids.
How to nurture your child’s unique personality?
In 2019 there are almost as many ways to make money as there are ways to spend it, but like many of the other mindful parenthood articles suggest, a little research can certainly shift the odds in your favor.
Shopping for your child won’t boast the same stakes as the Hunger Games, but it can feel that way especially when the happiness of your child is seemingly on the line.
Ways to foster creativity in your kids
What wouldn’t we do to keep our children happy?
The trick is to integrate the act of creating special occasions or gift-giving for your child with activities that will strengthen your bonds of marriage.
That being said, this article is meant to guide you whether you’re a mother or father so that in keeping your child happy you can spoil-away without traumatizing your bank account, and without adding stressors to the relationship dynamics of marriage.
I will also focus on strategies that seek affordable alternatives for your little one rather than an excess of material goods.
Before we begin, I would like to note here that what constitutes ‘an excess of material goods’ will not be up for debate; afterall I believe that such a thing is unique to the context of each individual family, their cultural background, and upbringing.
Instead I will focus on 5 of the best ways to spoil your child with experiential and financially astute options under $10 meant to either supplement or even replace more financially robust gifts, while supporting a solid foundation of marriage.
1. The gift of adventure
What makes children such a joy to behold, or one of which at least, is the same thing that makes each new experience an adventure to them.
A walk along a new park path is an expedition into the unknown lands of fantasy, visiting a new toy store is a treasure hunt where anything might be unearthed in the next isle down, and a movie theatre might as well be a space station, offering a few hour round-trip to another world.
More than an exact suggestion, this tip is focused on a broader way of thinking when considering a gift for your child – what would be an adventure for your little one?
Because some children have a thirst for thrill and excitement, while others appreciate the joys of more quiet activities, the types of adventures to embark on may range from a relaxed pizza party at home to an outdoor excursion.
The trick is to apply that secret ingredient of adventure, and you might be surprised in what activity your child finds fascinating.
What’s amazing about this practice is that our child’s sense of adventure often seeps into the mindset of the parents, and can beckon a similar feeling of wonder and enjoyment in them.
2. The gift of place
Inline with the previous tip, this suggestion is about assigning a value to a certain place.
National and local parks offer a real life opportunity for adventure, and can lay the foundation for a healthy appreciation for nature.
One approach that I have found invigorates a child’s love of nature is to focus on the child’s specific interest in biology (or fostering one in the absence of such interest).
For instance my daughter loves reptiles and amphibians from a distance at least–and so before exploring some local parks, I pick up a reptile field manual with pictures and we research together what reptiles or amphibians are native to the area (these are only about $5 on www.thriftbooks.com).
Even if we don’t find one, the act of searching adds that twinkle of excitement to her eyes. I use USN rankings to find the parks nearby that best suit my daughter and I, or I invite some of my daughter’s friends and let them choose.
Many national parks are totally free, while some of the more popular will only charge around $10 for an adult day pass and about half that for children. If you are able to bring a friend for your child, this allows even more time for you and your spouse to take in the scenery and enjoy each other’s company.
3. The gift of giving
There is some great research out there about how the act of giving gifts can build emotional health and empathy in our children, and this can also be a great way to positively involve your loved ones and your children in what might otherwise be a fairly mundane gifting experience.
Is it your boss’s birthday? Involve your child and spouse in the search for a gift.
The act of considering what another might appreciate is what is so important here. I have found my daughter enjoys searching out gifts for others almost as much as receiving her own, and my husband seems particularly skilled at facilitating her thought process.
What’s great about this practice is that it often serves to add meaning to the gift as well, since most people will really appreciate that you involved your loved ones in the process.
If you really want to involve your spouse and child in the empathetic side of this, then another great thing to do here is to donate to the charity of less fortunate kids.
On Christmas, birthdays, and Easter my daughter will pick out a $10 toy for one of the poor children at our local shelter for abused women and children.
4. The gift of creation
One of my favorite ways of spoiling my daughter affordably while hanging with my hubby is DIY projects.
There’s some great research indicating that when children learn to invest time and energy in long-term creative projects and crafts, they are more likely to gravitate towards creative thinking and responsible decision-making later in life.
One the best gender-neutral approaches to this is building a birdhouse, which offers the added bonus of involving your child in wildlife conservation.
Another great thing about this type of activity is that it works on any budget. A quick google search or trip to a craft’s store will turn over many options.
You can also employ cost-mindfulness and build an excellent birdhouse out of popsicle sticks and hot glue for under $10, or you can let your kid go all out and build a bird mansion for only the most high-class of birds.
Another tip here is often times local wildlife reservations will take bird houses, or even allow you to install them upon request, and might even ask for a bird house of a certain type to facilitate the propagation of a certain species.
5. The gift of breaking bread
My last tip is one that can really get you in the good graces of friends and family: offer to cook for them.
If your husband or wife doesn’t enjoy cooking, you can put them in charge of helping your child contribute. My family started doing this last year and now it has become a monthly tradition. We decide who we want to cook for and then let them decide what they want.
As a family, we then pick out what recipe we think we would have the most fun with and then we jump to it. Just like the DIY projects, cooking allows the family to operate as a unit, working together towards a common goal.
In 2019 when it is hard enough to just get people off of their phones, I have found great joy in the dynamics of teamwork that arise.
For instance, my husband is great with memorizing numbers so he is in charge of directing the measurements, portions, and other aspects of the recipe.
My daughter loves mixing things, so that’s her job. Watching them work is the main joy, so really I just fill-in from there.
Regardless which of these you decide to try, the goal is to make the activity about giving time to your loved one and child.
We are all so busy nowadays that it is often these moments of simplicity and tradition that can offer the most rewarding and wholesome experience.
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