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Christmas gift giving: Treat kids without spoiling them

It’s only natural that you want to give your children the world. But if you give them too much, you may end up doing more harm than good. This holiday season, make sure you treat them rather than spoil them.

kids ripping open christmas presents

Get them things they need

Chances are your kids won’t be as excited about receiving socks as they will be about getting a new video game. But it’s an important lesson in understanding gratitude. After all, if they didn’t have any socks, they’d certainly miss them more than they’d miss another toy. And it doesn’t mean things they need can’t be special too. Look for pens in cool colours, underwear with funky designs and toothbrushes with their favourite cartoon character on the sides. It’s the perfect opportunity for them to learn about celebrating the smaller things in life. And when they’re in university and have to buy everything themselves, they’ll be more than happy to receive mouthwash and dish soap.

Don’t exceed what is a reasonable budget for you

Many parents struggle over the holidays to get kids what they want no matter the cost. But buying gifts outside your means doesn’t help the situation in the grand scheme of things. After all, a month or two down the road, your child might not even remember which costly toy he was asking for, but your bank account certainly will. He may be disappointed in the moment, but when he’s older, he’ll appreciate just how hard financing children’s gift lists can be. No matter what you get your kids this Christmas, the important thing is they have your love and support. So don’t stress!

Don’t get everything on their list

When you ask your kids what they want for Christmas, it isn’t hard for them to come up with a list of a dozen things. But if you get them all the items they asked for, they’ll be split in so many directions that they won’t play with any one thing for more than five minutes. Instead, ask your child which gift he wants most this year. This will be a lesson in prioritizing. Plus it means he’ll actually take the time to fully enjoy his one special gift.

toy helicopter

Incorporate charity

When it comes to the spirit of giving, children learn the majority of it through their parents. So the holidays are the perfect time to start your little ones on the road to philanthropy. A great way to do so is by merging the concepts of giving and getting. For instance, Canadian Feed the Children has a program that allows you to buy different items for children in need around the world on behalf of someone else. Present your child with the card that shows what people received thanks to her generosity as well as a small reminder she can hold on to and feel good about for years. For example, if you purchased school supplies through the program, get your child a pencil case that is representative of her good deed. Or if you invested in a goat, get her a small goat toy or stuffed animal she can keep and be proud of. And of course, let your child know how special it is that she contributed to improving the lives of others in need. By rewarding kids both verbally and with a small token, you can help teach them from a young age how good it can feel to help others.

More parenting tips

Fun ways to teach your kids to give thanks
Raising a philanthropist: Volunteering tips for kids and teens
Can you be friends with your kids?

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