Children aren’t born materialistic. That’s proven every time a toddler decides that the box their expensive new toy came in is more interesting than the present itself.
The reason that children become materialistic is because it’s what they see around them. Even if you are not materialistic, there’s a good chance your child’s friends at school may be, or maybe just being bombarded by advertising all the time is having an impact.
The best way to prevent your child from becoming a rampant consumer before he or she even reaches formal schooling is to make presents something for special occasions only. When birthdays and Christmas roll around, choose one large present, and a few small ones, and limit your spending to that. Take your child along on shopping trips for gifts for others, and let him or her share the fun of choosing and wrapping presents for others – that way, your child will learn that giving can be as much fun as receiving.
Another good idea, if your child is old enough, is to volunteer to help out at a shelter for the less fortunate, or perform some other community service around the holidays. That way, your child can see first hand that there are plenty of people out there who don’t have anything at all, and that they should be grateful for the benefits and privileges that they do have.
Make sure that your child is always gracious when receiving gifts, and make sure that thank you notes are always written. This teaches your child that gifts are not something to be expected, but something special, that your child should be thankful for.
We live in a largely consumerist society, and it’s normal to want to give your child the best of everything. However, sometimes, keeping your urge to spoil your child in check can be much better for him or her in the long run than getting everything his or her heart desires.
Finally, make sure that you are not using material items as a substitute for affection. It’s far more important for your child to spend quality time with you, doing family friendly activities, than it is for him or her to have the latest toys, video games or clothes.