4 fun ways to un-spoil your kids this holiday season
I sat on my 5-year-old daughter’s bed one evening, watching in horror as she clotheslined her little sister after she dared to read one of her big sister’s books. Sharing has been an issue lately, and I’m sure it’s an age, stage, transition, or whatever you want to call it. But as I looked around the toy-packed room, it hit me: they have too much stuff. We’ve spoiled our children.
We never meant to, of course. We had great intentions before having kids. We had all those lists of things we’d never do, like preparing them a different dinner than us. Or rocking them. Or spoiling them.
But this holiday season, we want to make a change. It seems every time a commercial comes on TV, we hear choruses of, “Oh, I’m totally getting that for Christmas!” It’s almost as if there’s a sense of entitlement with zero gratitude or appreciation for what they already have. Closets are bursting with unused toys and hundreds of stuffed animals, all unnecessary. Plus the behavior has been so atrocious lately we actually offed our elf this year. As we’ve learned lately, stuff doesn’t make children happy—time with them does.
So this season, we are trying to focus on what the season of giving means, and we will try to spend more time as a family enjoying the traditions and less time worrying about Santa, elves, and gifts. If you want to try not to spoil your kids this season, here are a few things we can all do to foster appreciation, kindness, and thankfulness:
- Declutter and donate. It starts with giving, and it’s not easy for our little ones to part with their beloved toys. But we’ve cleaned out the closets, toy boxes, and old bins and found some hardly used and brand-new toys to donate.
- Pick a charity and/or volunteer. Pack a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child, or take your kids shopping for Toys for Tots. The key is to get the little ones involved in giving. Don’t forget about soup kitchens, food pantries, and local food drives!
- Limit gifts. We have set up a gift giving guideline for the holiday: one from Santa, one from Mom and Dad, and one from siblings.
- Make homemade presents. One tradition I’m proud we’ve started is making homemade gifts for teachers, friends, and family members. Ideas are candles, ornaments, baked goods, cookie mixes, or picture frames with a photo. The sky is the limit, and your children will remember the time you spent together as a family.
It’s easy to spoil our children, but sometimes less is more. And no matter what holiday you might celebrate in the month of December, who couldn’t use a little more gratitude?