Gifts that are better than toys

All Woman

CHILDREN look forward to Christmas gifts, and since most Jamaican houses don't have chimneys for Santa Claus to come through, it is up to the parents to ensure that their children are not disappointed on Christmas day.

While toys with bright colours and lights are holiday favourites, many of them are tossed aside or broken before the New Year comes. So push the action figures, toy trucks and dolls aside this year. Here are some gift ideas that will not only teach your child important values, but will also 'give' back to them in the long run.

Stocks

Consider this a graduation from the piggy bank. A great way to teach children about dollars and cents is by helping them to invest in a company. It also whets their appetite for bigger investments as they get older.

According to Steve Siebold, author of How Rich People Think, “giving stock as a baby gift is a great idea because even if the stock doesn't perform well, it's an opportunity to teach that child about money from an early age.”

An education fund

It's never too early to start saving towards your child's tertiary education. In fact, the earlier you start, the more you can accumulate by the time they are ready to start college. Locally available banking products such as NCB Omni Educator and Sagicor Sigma Educator allow you to save towards their education tax-free, once the money is being paid to an educational institution. They even offer grants valued at a percentage of your savings to sweeten the deal.

Life insurance

This is the one gift that you get yourself, but it is really for them. While you hope that they never have to use it, life insurance is your best bet to make sure that they still have a fighting chance at life should you pass away or become unable to work.

“One of the most important reasons to get life insurance is to secure the income that is coming into your household. Your children go to school for at least 15 years, and if something should happen to you in this time, you want to ensure that they are not at a significant disadvantage,” says financial advisor Gavane Hogarth.

A class

Whether it's swimming, musical instruments, dancing, martial arts or photography, it's worth finding out what your child likes doing and finding an avenue for him/her to develop this into a skill or a means of expression. Everyone likes to have a 'thing', and giving them a start from an early age will ultimately give them an edge in that field. Plus, it's a great way for them to meet new friends with similar interests.

A pet

Pets are not just great friends for children, but they also help to teach them responsibility. Whether it's a bird, dog, cat, goldfish, hamster or turtle, knowing that something is thriving under their care helps to develop a sense of maturity. Also, numerous studies conclude that children who grow up with pets have better general health, are more obedient, physically active, are less moody, and have fewer behavioural and learning problems. They are also said to be better at making friends.

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