Teaching children to have a meaningful Christmas

Help your children learn that giving is just as rewarding as receiving and to look beyond the marketing messages that tell them otherwise. Here are some tips for curbing materialism and highlighting the real reason for celebrations:

  • Talk to your children about the advertising messages they are receiving. When an ad comes on TV for a toy they decide they really want, ask them why. What is it about the ad that makes them think they need it? Then take the opportunity to ask if they really think that toy will do everything it looks like it can on the ad. Have a look at the product in a toy shop and discuss it. If they still want it on their wish list, that’s fine, but at least you’ve got them thinking about what messages they are receiving.
  • Talk to your children about how much is too much. Discuss waste, doubling up, how much use things will realistically get and how it is sometimes good to have a few things you really appreciate rather than a lot you don’t even play with. Encourage them to think about combining the value of lots of little, unnecessary gift ideas into one decent gift that is going to get more use.
  • Ask them to think about suitable gifts to give to different members of the family so they learn to think about matching a gift to someone’s personality.
  • Talk to your children about a gift they could make to their community or neighbourhood such as volunteering to help out at a local charity or simply popping into an elderly neighbour’s home and offering to do some odd jobs for them.
  • Ask your children to think about the less fortunate people in New Zealand and what the festive season means to them. oany charities collect toys to hand out at city missions so spend a few hours as a family going through the toy boxes and see what you can donate to make another family’s celebrations a bit nicer. This will also teach your child about being aware of others.
  • Encourage them to talk to their grandparents, aunts and uncles about their childhood memories of celebrations and ask your children to bring back ideas for your family holidays.

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