My husband and I struggle a lot with spoiling our kids. We have watched this toy pile grow and grow in the past 5 years and really don't want our kids to have the mentality that this world owes them something. It's difficult. We have lots of friends and family that buy them things. We know that every year, twice a year they will get stuff.
So how do you control it?
Good question. One we've been asking ourselves for a long time.
There are little things you can do. They may not seem like much, but I think they add up.
1. Don't get the toys at fast food places. I know what you are thinking. That sound rediculous. But think about how often you eat there and how many little toys you get and how often your kids actually play with them. Hmmmm. Now I don't sound so far fetched. We started opting out of fast food toys from an early age with our boys. They simply don't get them. It's not an option. There are ways to handle this. First, some restaurants offer options. McDonald's has the option of cookies instead of a toy. Most places I will order one adult meal of chicken nuggets and fries with a chocolate milk and split it between my two kids. Really, they are just happy to be eating where there is a play place. Sure, sometimes my oldest asks for a toy, but the response he gets is that if he wants to buy one, he can use his allowance for it. He's bought 2 toys for himself in the past year. It's a whole new ballgame when they have to spend their own money.
2. Start giving your children an allowance. Kids need to learn the value of money at a young age. If they want it, let them buy it, but you don't. This really changes the way they view things.
3. Be honest with what your kids need. Every time a birthday comes around inevitably some of my friends will ask what they can get my kids for their birthdays. So think, what would they really like and enjoy that isn't spoiling them? My boys have gotten beach towels, science experiments, college savings, and some pretty cool hats/clothes this way.
4. Teach your kids about the needs of others. Then do something about it. My oldest had a whole different perspective of what he has when we involved him in filling shoeboxes for Samaritan's Purse, shopping on the FHI catelogue and bringing food down to the local food bank.
5. Start saying 'no' to your kids and mean it. Sure they can still have the occassional treat. But a treat is just that, a treat. We began to realise that we were treating our boys so often it wasn't a treat anymore, it was an expectation. There is a difference.
These are just 5 little things that can make a big difference for your child. I'm sure you all have some more wonderful ideas. Let me know how you opt out of spoiling your kids in the comments so we can share them!