Teaching Your Kids about the Concept of Memories over Monetary Purchases

crafts with daughter
Photo by Yuganov Konstantin/shutterstock

If you ever had a child react with dismay to a homemade gift, you might have felt embarrassed. Did you stop to wonder why? You know there’s more to life than money, but how do you explain that to a child who has their heart set on a new PS5?

How can you instill the value of time spent with loved ones, even if they can’t show up laden like Santa every time they visit? Here’s why you should start teaching your kids about the concept of memories over monetary purchases.

You Can’t Eat It—You Can’t Hug It

Part of the issues lies with the role money plays in a capitalistic society. The wealthiest Americans often end up gracing the covers of financial magazines. Amid all the glamour, the public conveniently forgets that when you could spend $10,000 a day for the next 274 years and not blow your fortune, you may have exploited others while accruing your fortune. .

The problem is, you can’t buy a hug. No store-bought blanket can replace the garter blocks version your relative spent hours creating just for you. It might warm your lap, but not your soul.

What gives a material object value? Is it the name on a designer label? Is it defined by an object’s utility, making your average soup spoon more precious than a gold bar? How do you put a price tag on emotions?

The bottom line? One wise way to determine an object’s value is to ask whether you can eat it, use it for warmth or shelter or hug the maker. Teach your child to appreciate those basics by letting them volunteer with you at a soup kitchen or create survival bags to distribute to homeless individuals.

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Time Is Everyone’s Most Valuable Investment

People flippantly say, “time is money,”—but what if it really was? Imagine if, whatever job you did, you received an hour of time instead of a paycheck. It might cost a day of labor to buy a new outfit, or you might have to bank several months’ worth of “hours” to build a house. When you mentally play with this hypothetical, you quickly realize that money isn’t the most valuable asset folks have.

Your children aren’t born knowing the value of a dollar, but they have some concept of time after the first holiday they spent waiting for the 6am alarm to ring so they could tear into their presents. A new shirt might make them groan—but when you explain it cost someone else a full afternoon of labor to buy it, it becomes more meaningful.

The Things That Matter Are Those You Can’t Replace

As groovy as a new PS5 is, you can get a new one if it breaks. You can’t do the same with the scrapbook your relative put together to memorialize your vacation together.

The things that matter most are irreplaceable. You can use the crumpled heart activity to explain to your child that, even though you can smooth hurt feelings, the scars remain. Your child might feel ashamed of their behavior if they exhibited obvious disappointment over a homemade gift. Help them process that emotion in a healthy way with a sincere apology.

Teach Your Children That Memories Matter More Than Monetary Purchases 

People don’t reach their death beds wishing they had more stuff—they lament the human connections they missed. Teach your children that memories matter more than monetary purchases.

girl kissing her nanny
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Cora’s passion is to inspire others to live a happy, healthful, and mindful life through her words on Revivalist – wholeheartedly convincing them that everyday moments are worth celebrating. Cora has spent 5+ years writing for numerous lifestyle sites – hence her sincere love for both life and the beauty of style in all things. Keep up with Cora on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.

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