Economical & Meaningful Ways to Spend Time with Your Kids

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The state of the United States economy has always been on the minds of tax payers, but with the recent economic downturn complete with talks of bailouts, stimulus checks and living within our means, the economy has pushed to the forefront of most people's minds. The recession has forced many people, including parents, to cut back on as much extra spending as possible – less eating out, less trips to the movie theater, less mileage and more. These cut backs may make spending time with your children a little more difficult, but there are many economical, and more meaningful, ways for parents to spend time with their kids. Parents do more than provide for their children economically – they provide for their children emotionally.

According to the United States Commerce Department, consumer spending rose slightly more than expected in June, but incomes dropped 1.3 percent, the biggest drop in nearly five years. With faltering incomes, parents have to be more conscious of their spending habits, but time with their children does not have to suffer because of the ailing economy. Parents can make small changes in their everyday lives to save money and connect with their children in deeper, more meaningful ways. Instead of going out to a movie theater, parents could rent a movie and buy microwave popcorn for a fraction of the price of one regular movie ticket. While watching the movie at home, parents can interact with their children more and talk about the plot and characters. During the summer months, parents can forgo expensive amusement park tickets and instead take their kids to a free zoo or the local arboretum. They may not get the same thrill as a rollercoaster would offer, but they would get to try something new and learn to appreciate the outdoors.

The Commerce Department recently reported that spending rose 0.4 percent in the past few months, which may suggest to parents that more expensive activities might be a possibility in the future for their children. While time will tell if that is true, parents should recognize that they play a more important role than a financial provider – they act as emotional providers too. By being emotionally available and supportive, parents can build their child's self worth and self confidence, which will fuel their positive youth development. Instead of showering your children with toys and other material items, parents could take the time to play their kids, take them to the park or just spend time doing what they like to do. What kids need most is to know that they are unique and loved unconditionally. Parents can show this to their children by using positive and encouraging words with their children and by continuously reaffirming their value as an individual.

The economy may be affecting how parents spend or don't spend their money, but it should not have an effect on how parents support their children emotionally. These trying times should remind parents that what matters most is not how many toys or material things their children have. What kids need most is to feel a sense of self worth, self confidence and to be loved unconditionally. Even an economic recession can't change that.

Mark Arens, owner of ThumbPeople, Inc. & author of Thumbuddy Books & products, shares his heart on the importance of spending time together as a family. ThumbPeople provides traditional children's products and books that help build and fortify strong relationships within the family. Building self worth and self respect within our children is vital. Visit ThumbPeople for more -->>

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Occupation: Founder of ThumbPeople, Inc.
Mark Arens is the founder of ThumbPeople, Inc. and author of 7 best selling Thumbuddy Children's books.

The ThumbPeople message is so simple, yet so profound, that you and your children are precious and special. You are truly a miracle who is made in God's image and God will love you always.

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