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Nov 19
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Finding The Ideal Gifts For Children

Photo by Sheri Hooley on Unsplash

By “Jackie Writing Jackie”

For many Buddhists, the six paramitas (or six perfections) – giving, morality, patience, effort, meditation and wisdom – all enlighten one’s life, and are therefore cultivated on the journey towards awakening. The first of these perfections – dana paramita, or giving – involves helping people or giving them something they need without expecting anything in return. Like all children, those in the Shambhala community love toys, activities and experiences. What principles might you enjoy considering when finding them a gift for a special occasion?

Focusing On the Experience

If you have always felt in your heart that an experience beats material presents, then you will be pleased to know that scientific research backs your view. Researchers at the University of Toronto found that experience-based gifts (think a meditation retreat, nature hike, or outdoor yoga party) can foster stronger relationships than material gifts. Experiences are more intensely emotional, and they bond the giver and recipient in a special way.

Sharing A Love For Nature

Many Buddhists value gardening as a hobby and as a way to foster one’s love for nature and the great outdoors. If your child loves plants, a new addition to their garden that they can tend to regularly is a wonderful way to highlight the importance of commitment and responsibility. For very young children, easy-to-grow plants that require little more than a little sunlight and water are a good option. For those who are budding green thumbs who enjoy tending to and pruning plants carefully, bonsai trees are a great challenge. Some children may enjoy creating a peaceful garden using pebbles, water fountains, and a variety of plants.

A Gift That Many Can Share

Giving children a gift they can share with other children, friends and family, can serve to highlight the importance of the perfection of giving to others. It also falls in line with ideas of sustainability, which deem the use of all items one purchased by more several people (instead of just one person), to be a pillar of an eco-friendly lifestyle.

By ensuring children’s gifts are gender neutral and appealing to all age brackets, you can ensure that the gift has a long life and does not end up in a landfill after a couple of uses. Gender neutral gifts can also help boost a child’s self-esteem, as they encourage them to see themselves outside stereotypes established by society. Just a few fun toys your child might enjoy include art supplies, wheeled toys, and playground equipment such as climbing ropes. These toys cost very little, yet bring hours of entertainment to active and creative kids.

Meditation-Focused Gifts

Children who are learning to meditate may enjoy gifts that help them hone this skill in fun ways. Some ideas your kids may like include children’s books on mindfulness techniques (Sitting Still like a Frog by Eline Snell and Planting Seeds by Thich Nhat Hanh are good examples). A gift can be free (think the Breathe app to help children learn how to breathe) or cost less than a handful of coins (some apps, like Calm and Headspace, have so many fun exercises that children will be spoiled for choice).

There are many gifts that can deepen your child’s love for the Shambhala way of life. These include items that can be shared by more than one child, experience-based gifts, and nature-inspired presents. Books and apps focused on meditation, meanwhile, can highlight both the importance and the benefits of meditation for children and adults of all ages.

After taking a career sabbatical to become a mother, Jackie now writes full time on topics ranging from health and wellness right through to news and current affairs. She has, in the past, battled problems with anxiety and panic, and in her spare time she volunteers for a number of local charities that support people with mental health issues.

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