Giving kids vacations instead of toys boosts brain development, experts claim

Giving kids vacations instead of toys boosts brain development, experts claim

When it comes to Christmas, it really is more of an occasion for kids than it is for grown-ups. If you're a parent, then it's only natural to want to give your child the best Christmas ever by buying them the hot new toy or coolest gadget.

But you may want to think twice about going down to the toy store and whipping out your wallet.

A 2017 article written by British child psychologist Dr. Margot Sunderland has recently resurfaced on social media this week, in which the expert in child development wrote that giving a child the gift of a vacation - instead of toys - can actually make children smarter.

But toys do have their plus points. This tiny Baby Shark toy saved a child from dying from a bullet:

In the article - which was published in British newspaper The Daily Telegraph - Dr Sunderland states:

"What is less widely known is that [vacations] can also advance brain development in children. This is because on a family [vacation], you are exercising two genetically ingrained systems deep in the brain’s limbic area, which can all too easily be ‘unexercised’ in the home. [...]

"So when you take your child on a [vacation], you are supporting their explorative urge a vital resource for living life well, and their capacity to play.

"In adulthood, this translates into the ability to play with ideas - essential, for example, to the successful entrepreneur."

An image of a child playing with toys. Credit: Pexels

Psychological author Oliver James concurred in another 2017 article, writing: "Give a two-year-old a present and she’ll get absorbed in the box instead. It’s similar with children and travel. We should let them explore their own ways of finding wonder in their surroundings."

James added: "Holidays remove us, physically, from our highly pressured everyday lives where everyone’s focused on meeting targets. They are times when everyone can relax and be playful together."

"Children see the world differently," James explained about the pros of traveling with younger ones. "Through consumption, for example: The way that French cafés have Orangina instead of Fanta is fascinating to kids, and details like that will stick with them for long after the [vacation] ends."

So there you have it: if you really want to give your kids a Christmas to remember, then whisk them away on an adventure instead!