How to avoid spoiling young children

It’s natural to want to give our children whatever makes them happy, whether that happiness is long or short-term. But by giving in to every little whim we are actually in danger of raising ungrateful and entitled children, who value the wrong things and forget how to show sincere gratitude. It is important for children to learn the difference between ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ from a young age and to teach our children moderation, gratitude and non-materialistic values.

Tips & tricks for minimising spoiling

  • Even if you can afford it, try not to buy your child gifts, or even small treats, every time you go into a shop or supermarket. This can very soon turn into an expectation.
  • If you are planning on letting your child pick something, try to limit their choices. Perhaps a colouring book or some stickers, rather than just allowing them to choose anything.
  • Try to reward your little ones with quality-time, rather than material possessions. Going to the park or for a picnic can be rewarding and valuable for all the family.
  • Teach your child that some of the toys advertised can be overrated or just a fad compared to more traditional toys and games that you can enjoy together.
  • Encourage your child to choose toys, books and games from charity shops, and to donate those that they no longer play with.
  • Often a child will play with something for a short while before the novelty wears off. Try organising some toys, games, and books ‘swapping’ parties with friends and family.
  • Grandparents and close family can also help with all of this by not being over-indulgent when giving gifts to your child, perhaps offering quality time and activities sometimes.

Teaching your child the importance of giving to others

  • Together, collect clothing, books, toys, and shoes that your little one has grown out of or lost interest in. Let your child help to choose a worthy charity.
  • Make cards and crafts with your child when giving a gift to close friends and family. Personal gifts are much more special to give and to receive.
  • Encourage your child to help with any charity drives you may be collecting for, such as food banks and book or clothing collections.
  • If your child is old enough they may be able to accompany you while you help or visit elderly neighbours, or even participate in some rewarding volunteering opportunities.

Most of all just remember to be a good role model for your little learner and demonstrate as often as possible the kind of values and behaviours you would like them to copy from you.

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