Are You Spoiling Your Child With Too Many Gifts?

Published 22 December 09 05:53 PM | RebeccaL
There are some children in this world who are fortunate enough to be part of families who love them and have the financial means to shower them with gifts. Some of these children though, get so many presents for birthdays and the holidays that at times it can be too overwhelming for them. They go from present to present without really appreciating the thought and generosity that went into the gift. Dolls, mini cars, train sets, play kitchens, bikes... and more that was on the wishlist is now a wish come true. Even though your child wanted all these fun and amazing toys and will probably have a great time playing with them, are you helping or hurting your child by overwhelming them with too many gifts? So as the gift giving and receiving adventure ensues, there are some things to keep in mind. The first is this: If a young child has too many toys, it can be too distracting, and even create some difficulties in attention. Too many toys means too many choices and it's so easy for a child to go from toy to toy to toy, without any structure or meaningful play. They may not learn to sit and play with just one toy for a while because there are just so many to get to or because they just don't have to. The next thing to keep in mind is: What are we teaching our children when we spoil them with everything they want? Children need to be taught generosity and young kids don't really understand or appreciate all the gifts they get, especially if it's a common occurrence. A scene from a Harry Potter movie comes to mind when Harry's spoiled cousin gets upset because there were only 36 presents for his birthday when the year before he had 2 more than that. Sound like anyone you know? I hope not! This type of mentality is what we are trying to avoid in a child. Obviously babies have no idea what they get if anything, and toddlers are usually happy with anything they get. If you have a child who is more aware of gifts, think about whether or not your child already has too many of something already, and also think about the gifts they are getting. Are they over the top? Too expensive? Are they necessary? Does your child need that $200 play kitchen? or the $1300 doll house? or new bike? new PS3 or Xbox? Will s/he be able to go on being happy without these things or maybe with slightly less expensive or grand versions? You can also put some gifts away to be opened at another time. If your child is getting too many big gifts, then put some of them away, and give them to your child at a time when s/he may need a little pick me up or when s/he has done something extra special. As you think about what your child will be receiving or after all the gifts have been opened consider taking some inventory and cleaning out the old to make room for the new. Clear out old toys or toys your child doesn't use anymore, is too old for, or are broken or have lost pieces. Take the toys that are in usable condition and donate to those less fortunate and make sure you explain to your child exactly what you are doing and why. Also bring your child with you when you donate them. Most people go to Salvation Army type places but there are many preschools and elementary schools with large populations of children at the poverty level who would love the toys. Donating at this time of year gives you a great opportunity to explain to your child that not all children are as fortunate as your child is and some of these children don't even have crayons, books or even a teddy bear. This will help you teach your child about generosity, about others outside of his/her world and hopefully teach your child to appreciate what s/he has while you are helping those in tough situations. So as you celebrate your holidays, let us try to remember what this time of year really means... and it's more than just how much stuff we get. And even though it's fun for kids of all ages to receive gift after gift, there is such a thing as too much. Happy Holidays and Wishing you and yours a Happy and Healthy 2010.
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