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CounselingNH E-Zine, Issue #015 Thoughtful and Affordable Gifts for Children
November 18, 2008

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November 18, 2008

Volume 1, Issue #015 Thoughtful and Affordable Gifts for Children

A Note From Jim

Feature Article: Thoughtful and Affordable Gifts for Children

A Note From Jim:

Hi, Jim here- bringing you the next in our series of bi-weekly E-zines. The Holiday season is almost here again. This is the time our thoughts turn to such things as family, friends and merriment. Or, maybe we're thinking about parties, singing and food. Regardless of what we begin thinking about it won't be long before we think about money, shopping and presents. This will be the last E-zine you receive from us before Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year in anticipation of the Holidays. We can't shop without thinking about the children in our lives and what they would like. This year, what we think they would like may conflict with what we can afford. In order to assist you in this I wanted to suggest a few things to think about that might contribute to this being the Best Holidays Ever while staying within a reasonable budget!

Thoughtful and Affordable Gifts for Children

The first step to thinking about a present for a child is so simple it's frequently overlooked! It is to ignore the compelling fancy advertising for the glamorous toy that "every child must have." It's also to ignore what your co-worker is buying their child. It is rather to think about the child. Think about what the child enjoys playing. Notice I didn't say think about what your child does, I spoke about your child playing. Doing and playing are sometimes the same thing but many times they are remarkably different. Playing, in the traditional sense of the word, suggests the use of imagination. There is a very interesting relationship between toys and imagination. Generally speaking, the more simple the toy, the more room there is for imagination. In fact, very simple toys require the use of imagination in order for the toys to be useful to a child in play. There are some sophisticated and highly designed toys that reveal a great deal of imagination on the part of the engineers but leave very little to the imagination of the child. Kids will predictably play with these toys for a brief period of time and then set them aside. Other more simple toys may be used for a certain purpose or imagined to be a certain thing for awhile. After the child exhausts their interest in that particular play, the toy may support a different fantasy and a whole new play may begin. These types of toys encourage imaginative play while the other type of toy inhibits it. Oh, and one more thing about the toy that encourages imaginative play. The cost of this toy is usually dramatically less than the other.

The second consideration in selecting an affordable play item for a child is to purchase an item that you think you would enjoy playing with the child. Children enjoy socializing and companionship just like adults. They thrive on interaction, cooperation, competition and creativity. In order for the chosen toy to be the right one it should meet two criteria. First, it should be at the child's level of interest and competency. Don't buy a toy for how it can be played someday. Buy it for how it can be played today. The second criteria for selecting an interactive toy for your child is that it holds some interest for the adult. Don't buy a toy that you can't stand to play because you won't! And if you don't, there's a good chance that you're child won't either.

The third thing to consider when selecting a gift for your child is their age. Very young children play mostly with manipulatives. These are the toys you can drop, push, hit, turn, twist etc. By the age of four or five most kids are into fantasy play. This can range from gender specific dress-up play to relational play for girls (house, baby and teacher) to action play for boys (super hero, army, TV character). By the age of six or seven children enjoy activity play (arts and crafts, cooking sewing building). By the age of eight or nine children are enjoying group activities, sports and being a part of a team. Around the ages of eleven and twelve kids play becomes more sophisticated. It may involve board games, electronic games or computers. Around the age of fourteen, teens become preoccupied with relating to other teens. Hence, cell phones, live video games and IMing become favorite past times. Of course careful supervision and instructions are advised as teens move towards the use of communication devices and the Internet. Sixteen year olds and up are likely to look forward to clothes, gift certificates or items for their cars. Of course it never hurts to include an occasional play item even for your older children such as a board game or a travel game. The ages mentioned here are general reference points and may vary depending upon the child.

Well, some ideas have been shared with you about buying thoughtful presents for your children. Lastly I suggest you try to enjoy the shopping experience. If you find a way to have fun thinking about your children having a good time, you will select gifts with more confidence.

All the best, Jim

_________________________________________________________________ Recommendations:

Drug and Alcohol Evaluation

Anyone who is concerned about their own relationship with alcohol or drugs, we recommend that they obtain a alcohol and drug evaluation. Appropriate programs will be provided. We provide services for adolescents and adults.

Parent Success Program Our Parent Success Program is a skills based course in parenting. The course covers parenting from birth to adulthood. It is a discussion based class where parents talk about challenges that they are encountering along their parenting journey. Parents discuss, learn and are encouraged. The more involved a parent is increases the liklihood of raising happy and well adjusted children. Our goal is to help, guide and nurture parents so they in turn will confidently help, guide and nurture their children. Please call our office to inquire about your Parent Success Program.(603)668-7744. Parents may attend any or all of the classes. Please see the curriculum in the parenting section of our website

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All the Best,

Jim Foster

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