With the holidays coming, kids get excited about the things coming their way. I remember this VERY well. And honestly, I do still love getting Christmas gifts. However, I have streamlined the way I ask for things and plan to pass this onto my children someday, too.
Stuff can be great, but the best things are the ones that you truly want or need.
Because it is November, I encourage you to try this exercise with your children. This works on kids who are just starting to ask for a lot of things and are able to have some decision making abilities. I’m thinking 4-5 years old is a good place to start.
Decide how many gifts you will buy your child this year. Make it a number that is very comfortable for you, and perhaps lower than it has been in the past years. Tell your children this number, and then have them make a list of things that they want.
If your number is ten, have the child make a list of 15-20 things that they want RIGHT NOW to be revised later. Let them know the final number and that this list will have to be pared down eventually.
Revisit the list every week until December. Be discussing it as often as Christmas gifts come up.
“You put on the list that you wanted two My Little Ponies. Is that still something that you think you will play with? Where in your room will you put them? Is there space with your current My Little Ponies? Will you have to get rid of any toys?”
Think of things that will make THEM thing about the “stuff” coming into their lives. Be thoughtful, and let them make decisions.
As time goes on, help them pare down the list to the ten items that they REALLY want.
This helps with a couple of things. The first is that it makes them delay graftication. Delayed gratification is a very strong skill to develop early on–it helps with impulse control, not spending unnecessary money, and being thoughtful with what comes into your home.
It also helps them think about the space that they already have, as well as the places that the new stuff will go–a major part of organization!
Next week, we will look at giving for kids, and how you can promote that this holiday season. Stay tuned!