It’s the holiday season, and that means it’s high time to think of gifts. Getting a gift for a child is a slightly tricky thing – it’s hard to tell, sometimes, at exactly what stage of development your kid is. Is he or she ready for a phone, or is it too soon? Are they still into sports, or have they moved on? Should you get them a gaming console – and if so, what games are most appropriate for their age?
Sometimes, it’s best to take a shot not at giving your child what he or she wants, but giving your child the chance to discover something he or she may love forever. Music, for example. Painting. Singing. Or reading. Books make for an amazing gift, and for several reasons – and if you hurry, you may still get a great deal on some amazing appropriate best sellers.
There’s No Gift like a Good Story
If you want to get a gift that keeps on giving, you’d be hard-pressed to beat a book. Movies are short. Good games are often too hard to beat at a younger age. But books, well, they’re something everyone can get into.
Every book is just a collection of meaningless words until someone lays their eyes on them – then, the words transform into a story, into a tale of fiction, adventure, love, drama, strength, values and beliefs. Books can be a great way to experience things that would never happen, and build your child’s imagination.
eBooks Are Forever
eBooks are a particularly good choice because they save space, and you don’t have to worry about the condition of the book. Children tend to be a little careless with their belongings when they’re younger – since eBooks are digital, they’re pretty damn hard to destroy unless your account was deleted, hard drive destroyed, and eReader thrown away. A physical book, on the other hand, is ruined by age, water, snot, paint, glue, and any combination of daily hazards. eBooks for kids are also quite easy to procure, especially with stores like Barnes & Noble’s Nook opening online.
If you’re looking for the kind of gift that is, for all intents and purposes, virtually indestructible, then an eBook is a good place to look. And unlike a simple memory, a book is something a child can revisit for years and years, rediscovering the story and discovering new details in it that weren’t decipherable or noticeable in the past because of their subtlety.
You Can Teach Your Child a Thing or Two Through a Good Book
While it’s probably not a good idea to get your six year old a copy of Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October, or Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, just as it’s a bad idea to try and see how your prepubescent daughter likes Marx’ Capital: Critique of Political Economy and Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, getting your child started early on classic fiction, as well as some more contemporary pieces is definitely a good practice.
The Good Earth, Pretty Women, Anne of Green Gables and the works of authors like Twain are all appropriate for children about to hit puberty, or those in the middle of their teenage years, and if you’re the kind of parent who likes to foster critical thinking, then works by authors like Jostein Gaarder can be great to introduce the concepts of philosophy and science. Sure, at first, you’ll hear more questions than revelations from your child – but learning is a learning process, and the sooner it starts, the more exhaustive it will become. And that can definitely be a good thing. Who’s ever heard of a fifteen year old with a grasp of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War? That kid will be going places.
Building a Reading Habit Early on Is Incredibly Beneficial
Getting your child a good eBook is more than just about getting something for Christmas – by fostering a reading habit, you’ll build a better member of society, sure, but you’ll also help broaden your child’s horizons by introducing them to all kinds of cultures, thoughts, and ideas through books.
Vocabulary is another benefit. Reading aloud can help kids build an understanding of language, as a study on JSTOR notes. Building a love for words in the minds of your youngster can put them at an academic advantage, and an advantage for life. While knowing a few more words than most others isn’t exactly a million-dollar-skill, it’s still helpful, and it’s a sign of a strong education and yearning for knowledge – a good thing in any industry.
It’s also a good form of helping your child future-proof its chances in the world. The National Education Association notes that children who read are more likely to succeed in school. As the world becomes incredibly competitive, it’s important to equip your child with the right repertoire for both success and compassion – and books can teach someone about humility and love just as much as they can teach someone about how to run a business, find success and stay morally sober in a world that has adopted a dog-eat-dog mentality.