Surprising Your Kids While Not Breaking the Bank

I can remember as kid, going to the store, was the highlight of the week – especially if it was a trip to a store like Target, or any other number of big box stores.

Oh, and don’t even get me started if it turned out to be a trip to the mall…I could barely contain myself. Why, you might be wondering; why would any kid ENJOY shopping…TOYS, duh!

And I wanted them all!

Of course, like most parents, my mother always gave me the, We’re not here to buy toys. Don’t touch anything; don’t look at anything, and most of all…DON’T ASK FOR ANYTHING, speech every single time we were about to enter a store. Of course, she would mix it up every now and then, telling me, You touch anything, or break anything, so help me….and because I had ample enough reasons to believe her, I never wanted to meet the end of that sentence.

While I don’t share my mother’s parenting style, or passion for threats of bodily-harm; I do find myself now dreading going to any store that contains a toy aisle. Because, as sure as the sun rises in the East, and sets in the West; if my 7yo son is with me, I know I’m going to here, Hey Dad, I have a great idea. How about we look at the toys, and maybe we can buy something.

We? WE?!? You get job I don’t know about, kid? What’s this WE stuff? You mean ME. You know; dad…the only person in the house with an actual revenue stream. The person who also has to pay all the bills, feed you and your siblings, clothe you, and every other expense that comes with raising kids.

Look, I get it; kids are greedy, rarely express gratitude, and are probably going to treat a toy that costs $100 with the same care and respect as a toy they found in a Cracker Jack box. That is to say, it will probably be broken by days end.

And forget about taking them to a venue like a bounce park, laser tag, or even the movies. These days, for a family of 4, you have to take out 30 year adjustable rate loan, just to enjoy yourself for a couple hours…and with kids, even that’s a crap-shoot. But, just because it feels like the cost of everything labeled family fun is sky rocketing; that doesn’t mean you can still plan some really fun, cost friendly, events that will have your kids in fun mode in no time.

Plan a Yes Day

A “yes day” is, exactly what it sounds like…a day…one day a year…singular; when you accept every request your child has, for that day. It’s based on the 2009 children’s book written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. If they want to eat dessert before their main meal, then let them. If they want to lounge around and watch movies all day, then they can. You can set a few rules that you don’t want your child to break, such as anything dangerous or things that cost too much money, but even so, they’ll love it and it is a great chance for them to have their “dream day”. It doesn’t even have to cost a lot of money either, which is another bonus.

Look, I’m a huge fan of the word NO, and I use all…the…time; especially since having kids, and I’ve gotten pretty good at it. While the thought of a Yes Day for my kids is enough to send me into a full on panic attack, I can also…kind of…sort of…empathize with them. Ugh…that hurt to admit.

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It’s a good idea for you to talk with the parents of your child’s friends to see if you can arrange a surprise playdate. The surprise of them having their friends come over really will put a smile on their face and it will also help them to really enjoy the day. The best thing about this is that you don’t have to do any preparation and as long as you have a few snacks on-hand, you really won’t have any problems at all.

Decorate or Do Home Improvement Projects Together as a Family

Another way for you to do something for your child that you know they’ll love is to decorate your home, or even do a home improvement project together.

If you’re looking to decorate; you can do this after they fall asleep so that it is all ready for them in the morning. It doesn’t take much to do this, in fact, all you need is a few balloons and even a window marker. You can also leave them a note saying that you have a surprise activity planned. This can include a treasure hunt or a day out somewhere. Kids love things like this and it is the ideal way for you to spend the weekend.

Movie Night

There are so many ways for you to make a day special. A movie night is a great way for you to get everyone involved and you can also relax for the night as well. If you want to surprise your child, then get some nice treats in and get the duvet from upstairs as well. When you do this, you can have a super fun night on a budget without having to worry about endless planning.

Buy them a Surprise

Ok, none of this is to say you shouldn’t ever drop some coin on your kids. Kids are like anyone else; they like receiving gifts, and as much as I know they’re going to send me to the poor house some day; I love surprising my kids with something from the store that they’ve been eyeing for a while.

If you know that your child absolutely loves dinosaurs then why not surprise them with an animatronic dinosaur for sale? By taking into account their interests you can be sure to give them something that they will love, and you can also help them to have fun all day long. If you are not quite sure what toys your child would like, then take them out to the local toy shop and have them choose something for themselves. When you do this, you can then help them to have a great time and you also know you’re buying the right gift.


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