Christmas is coming, excitement rules. But are the kids also creating wish lists that would put you in the poor house if you were to buy them everything they want? Let’s take a look at how to help our kids be realistic about gifts.
The Galloping Gimmes
Does it seem that every time you turn around your children are asking for more and bigger gifts? The list just seems to explode until you are in a blind panic trying to figure out how to get your little darlings everything they want for Christmas.
You shouldn’t be surprised. Christmas toy advertising starts to rev up after Halloween so your children are being constantly exposed to the latest, greatest, must-have toys and games.
And you have been so busy at work as well as trying to get ready for the upcoming holidays, you end up buying things as a substitute for time and attention. It’s guilt rather than common sense that ends up driving your buying decisions. Last week we talked about involving children in your holiday preparation. The beauty of this is that it removes all the guilt that causes you to spend too much money on too many toys.
While there are a number of things you can do to reduce your children’s acquisitive nature the simplest (but for many, most difficult) way to handle the problem is to learn to use just one little word. No. He doesn’t need all that stuff.
Her life won’t be ruined if she doesn’t always have the latest, newest and greatest thing. In fact, her life is more likely to be ruined in the long run if she does get everything she wants exactly when she wants it.
If we teach our children to sometimes go without, we are doing them a favour.
This will not make you at all popular but parenting is not a popularity contest. It’s your job to sometimes say no and live with that but not give in to your unhappy child.
Help him learn how to set priorities. If he could only have one of the many things on his list what would it be? Why? Ask why so you can work with him to figure out if he’s being bamboozled by advertising or if it’s something he would really use and like.
Speaking of advertising, teach your kids to be savvy viewers. Watch toy commercials with them and make a game out of trying to determine how they made that toy look so good? Do they think it’s really that big? What about batteries? Does it need batteries and how can kids afford to pay for them? Once kids are seven or eight they love the game of figuring out what the advertising is doing to make things look so good. You can even take them to the toy store to look at the toy and see how the reality is sometimes quite different from the ad.
Involve your children in gift purchases. We talked about that in the last newsletter. Getting involved in some level of charitable giving is also helpful. Have your kids buy a toy for a needy kid and take it to the food bank or a toy drive. Or, if they have lots of toys that have barely been played with, do the same thing. Let them donate some money to a worthwhile cause.
When we involve the kids, set reasonable expectations and have them give as well as receive we are doing a good job to reduce the galloping ‘gimmes’.
Digital Books Make Parenting Information More Accessible.
There are times when digital is the perfect answer and let’s face, on a holiday having access to hundreds of books on one small tablet is ideal. I will have my kindle with me on the trip.
There are lots of times when a busy parent would like to be able to simply read and my books are digital and make it easier for you to take a look.
Two of my parenting books started as print versions but the third is only digital. The first two are also in digital format. Who’s in Charge Anyway? talks about roots. It provides a clear road map for parent to focus on the tough but rewarding job of raising children to be responsible, self-disciplined adults.
But Nobody Told Me I’d Ever Have to Leave Home talks about raising children to become capable young men and women.
Vive la Différence talks about kids with different temperaments.
The books are down to earth and common sense as well as easy to read. If you want some basic parenting tips and information these books are a good place to start.
How Can I Bring Kathy to My Community?
I offer keynotes and workshops, have written books and have ongoing newspaper columns, books, blogs and newsletters.
And, no matter what the actual topic, they all share a basic value that I call:
P — is a parenting plan
U — is unconditional love
R — is respect for your child as he is right now
E — is encouragement
I look forward to working with you for your professional development, workplace wellness or parenting education event.