Between letters to Santa, endless toy commercials on TV, and time spent scouring the shelves at Target, it’s easy for our kids to get wrapped up in all the materialism and miss out on the merrymaking of the holidays. So here are some ways to keep their priorities in check and not spoil your kids this holiday season.
- Start a charity drive - Get your kids involved in giving back by buying a present for a toy drive or adopting a less fortunate child’s wish list and helping make their Christmas wish come true.
- Make four-part wish lists - The “rule of four” helps keep the present pile within reason. Have your kids choose one gift they want, one they need, one to wear, and one to read.
- Define wants versus needs - Talk to your little ones about the difference between something they need - like new shoes - and something they want - like a new iPhone. And then set realistic expectations about what they might see from each category.
- Split big-ticket items - If your kid wants a new laptop or other pricey item, have them help earn part of the money for it. Have them do chores around the neighborhood, babysitting, shoveling snow, whatever they can do to earn some cash to pay for part of the cost and they’ll learn that hard work pays off.
- Consider a trade-in program - Teach your kids compassion while you cut down on clutter by having them donate an old toy for each new one they get. Maybe you can even convince them to get rid of that obnoxious 12-siren fire truck you’ve been cursing since last Christmas.
- Send thank-you cards - Even if they can’t write it all themselves, they can get involved in deciding what to write and signing their thank-you cards. It’s never too early to teach about them about gratitude.
- Have you ever tried the rule of four with your kids’ holiday gifts? How was it?
- Do your kids have reasonable expectations of what will be under the tree?
- Have you ever tried a trade-in toy program with your kids?