What Your Child Really Wants

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When given the choice children choose quality time with loved ones over toys.

Seriously!Your child wants time with you

At Christmas time I shared a post about giving experiences versus gifts. Check it out if the concept is new to you. It’s a real thing and it’s taking off.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane. Do you remember what gifts you got for your 10th birthday? How about your 20th birthday? Or even your 30th birthday?

Do you remember that time you made cookies all day with your Grandma? Or when you had a picnic at a rest stop on the way to your aunt’s house. How about that 19th birthday to Chuck E. Cheese with all of your college roommates? (Yep, I did all of those things.)

Sure, I remember some of the gifts I got over the years, but it’s the memories of times I spent together with family and friends that I cherish and remember.Your children are no different. They want time with you.

Undistracted time

Time alone without the other parent or siblings.

Time with Cassidy playing board games

Don’t believe me? Check out this video.

To sum it up: Children chose time with loved ones over toys.

Too often we try to find the perfect gift for our kids, and that gift is right in front of us.

Our kids want more time with us.

I’m not saying that kids don’t also love toys, electronics, etc. – of course, they do, and it’s okay to get such gifts in moderation.

But remember ultimately what they really want is your time.

time together scrapbooking
Cassidy and I scrapbook together.

I know it’s not easy. I’m a busy mom too and the dishes don’t wash themselves and dinner doesn’t get made without us. However, some things can wait.

Try giving each of your children 15 minutes of your undivided attention every day.

I bet you can find 15 minutes for each child. This means no phone, no television, nothing but what they want to play. This might be a board game, it might be building forts and playing dress up, or building with Legos. They choose and you participate.

If you let your child know they have 15 minutes of your undivided attention, you’ll be amazed at how happy you’ll both be at the end. Then when 15 minutes is up you can get back to all those things you “should” do.

This same thought can be used for gift giving. Find something your child likes to do and spend some time doing that activity as their gift. Maybe it’s something you wouldn’t usually do like going to Build-A-Bear.

time with Amelia

This past Christmas my parents gave our family a season pass to our local pool for the summer. We love the gift and often call my parents to let them know how much fun we have when we go to the pool. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. This year for the girls’ birthdays my in-laws gave them the gift of a visit to Bippidy Boppity Boutique when we all visit Disney World together this summer. I guarantee that experience will be magical for the children and the adults alike.

pool time with Cassidy
Time together at the pool.

I encourage you to consider the possibility of giving the gift of an experience. If you don’t believe me present a child in your life with different options and see what they choose. I guarantee you they will remember the time they spent with you far longer than any toy.

Experience Gift for Kids

Dinner and a movie

Pedicures or manicures

Mini golfing


Going to a pool or water park

Frisbee golfing

Tea party

Dinner out to a restaurant

Going to a play or musical


Creating a scavenger hunt

Baking together

Going on a hike

father daughter gardening time.
Brian and Amelia garden together often.


The list could go on and on. Take some time to think about what things that special someone in your life likes to do and find a corresponding experience. Experience gifts work with adults too; it’s not just children who value time together. This past Christmas Brian gave me show tickets to see “Singing in the Rain.” It was AWESOME, and as an aspiring minimalist it didn’t clutter up my house at all- bonus.

What great experience gift ideas have you given or gotten?

I'd love to hear from you.

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