A Lesson in Materialism - How Not to Spoil a Child

Written by Tela Kayne

A few nights ago at a local restaurant, a waitress made a comment to my husband and I that her 7 year old son is starting to take his toys for granted. She said he received around $1500 in toys for Christmas, including a Nintendo Wii, but that his first question after opening all of his gifts was, “Why didn’t you get me a Playstation 3?” This has stuck with me for several days as I look around my daughters’ playroom filled to the max with toy after toy.   How do I avoid spoiling my children in a world where materialism and instant gratification are so rampant?

I’ve decided as a new year’s resolution that I will try to instill a sense of pride of ownership in my daughters by taking the following action:

  1. Participate in Volunteer Activities – Show them that there are less fortunate people who don’t have everything they want when they want it.
  2. Set up a Reward System – Make them work for the things they want the most through a reward/allowance system that pays reasonable wages for work around the house.
  3. Introduce a Piggy Bank – Teach them to save their hard earned money.
  4. Watch How Things are Made – Watch a video or real life demonstration on how various products are made so that they can have a better appreciation for where things come from…Sesame Street Stye!
  5. Enjoy Activities that are not Dependent on “Stuff” – Teach them that there are other things in life to appreciate other than toys by taking nature walks, studying animal behavior, and learning about the environment.
  6. Make Them Wait – probably the simplest approach, I vow not to give in to their every demand!

Please share your own approaches for helping your children to appreciate life’s gifts!

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