5 Ways Not To Spoil Your Child Through The Holidays

Materialism has a way of creeping in the holidays like no other time of the year, and it’s easy to go a little overboard.

Your kids may give you a ten foot long list for Santa of their “favorite” toys, or you may have had them circle in a magazine the items they wanted- only to find all but five things were circled!

We want to give our kids the best experiences, but not giving in to every request from those big doe eyes can be what is best for our children in the long run.

Thankfully, there are some easy guidelines to follow to help not tip over that line into spoiled, but still have an over-abundance of smiles, cuddles, and gratitude through this season when it comes to gifts.

Set out to purchase a reasonable amount of gifts.

Anyone that has said they are just going to see what interests them when they are out shopping comes back with a trunk load of items- there are so many interesting things out there!

Parents magazine warns that the problem comes in “when they focus more on opening presents rather than with what’s inside.”

Go for quality over quantity and make a list with a specific destination to buy the items at so you aren’t tempted to buy every pink toy with long hair for your daughter, or every character that makes noise for your son (even though you know they would love it). 

Talk with you kids about their gifts.

Knowing the role materialism and consumerism plays in our lives can be a powerful tool to managing the impact it has. 

One of the fastest ways to disappoint is to not have your expectations met, so defining those expectations prior to Christmas morning will save you a lot of trouble. 

Let your children know that you are aware it is exciting to receive gifts this time of year, but that getting a few special items will be more meaningful than being handed an endless pile of trinkets that add more clutter than joy. 

Let the family in on your goals.

You may be aiming to give a few big-ticket holiday toys, but did grandma get the message before she stuffed the suitcases?

Send out a little memo prior to visiting that you are looking to not overshadow the experiences of the season with material goods, and that your would appreciate everyone selecting only a couple of items for their favorite niece or nephew. 

You will save the family a lot of money that they can use for another visit in the summer, or for a Christmas play you could all enjoy together. 

Emphasize gratitude.

Getting gifts is a privilege not an obligation, and being appreciative to that person for bestowing such heart-felt actions is gratitude.

Asking grandpa “What did you get me?” right when he comes in the door is not showing the string character traits you have worked so hard to instill in your children. 

There are some fun games you can play with your kids ahead of time to help them to discover gratitude on their own, as Mommy Underground has previously reported.

Showing gratitude yourself around your children can also be a powerful example for them to mimic. 

Don’t keep up with the Joneses.

Talking with your neighbor you may discover that they bought every piece of the hottest collection for their child when you had only bought the starter set. 

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Resist the temptation to go back out to the store so your son will have comparable gifts to his friend. 

Kids are always going to want what other kids are playing with, we see this as early as the toddler years!

Have a conversation with your child about valuing the things they have without comparing their belongings to every friend and family member. 

This doesn’t mean they will never make a comment about how “its so unfair,” but they will learn an invaluable life lesson.

So when looking at your secret pile of booty for the kid this year, be proud of the thoughtful, quality gifts you bought with the conscious decision to opt for a well-rounded child over a spoiled one.

You can be sure that a child who doesn’t expect to get everything they want is going to give you more smiles everyday of the year. 

Please let us know in the comments section how you try to regulate your gift giving and instill gratitude in your children.