Q: I’m a stay-at-home mum and my husband works hard to support our family, but we’re living on a shoestring budget. How can I give my children the chance to try different activities and programs when we don’t have much money? I don’t want them to miss out on life-enriching opportunities.
A: The happiest, most well-adjusted children aren’t those who are involved in a million different activities and who own every tech device on the market. Rather, the children who thrive best are those who have committed, caring parents who spend time with them on a regular basis, and emphasise the importance of character over comfort and consumerism. So if you’re feeling guilty because you can’t buy your children everything our culture says they need – don’t.
There are dozens of ways you can provide stimulating activities for your children that don’t cost much money. A great place to start is your local library. Books and DVDs can introduce them to people and places they’ve never dreamed of before. If they’re old enough, they can get their personal library cards and select their own materials for check-out.
You should also take advantage of public museums, science centres, and zoos in your area, most of which offer low-cost or free children’s programs. If you live in a rural location this may involve a special weekend trip once in a while, but it’s well worth the time and effort.
Finally, don’t overlook the world of nature. Many neighbourhoods include playgrounds for children. There are also a number of parks for children to enjoy a family fun time together with their parents.
These are just a few suggestions; we’re sure you can come up with many more ideas on your own, or from other mums.
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