Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston, Texas. Child care Montessori provider in Champions, The Woodlands, Spring Texas Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston
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BATTLING THE GIMMIES
The giving season is upon us, and now is a good time to battle the gross consumerism that assails us from every side. It has become a matter of patriotic duty to spend more. Our society experiences not only unprecedented wealth but also an unreserved show of it, and it doesn’t take long for our children to notice when they don’t have the same material objects as their friends. This is a good time for the adults in our children’s lives to get very solid on what their belief system is about “stuff”. If we feel like we’re letting our children down because we can’t or won’t buy all they want, it begins to interfere with our relationship with our child. It affects how we parent.

It’s impossible for children to not notice “stuff”. Marketing is the background noise of our culture. The gap between the very rich and everyone else is blatant, and children have access to the world more than ever before. When our children are 3 or 4, we have to begin deconstructing marketing messages for them. For example, “An ad’s job is to make you want something. Let’s see if we can guess what this one wants us to buy.” Not only does this give children critical-thinking skills, it also gives them power. By understanding the force of marketing, children can rise above it as opposed to feeling deprived by it.

A good response to children who really, really want something is to empathize with their feeling. Talk about what the item gets for your child. How can they deal with the isolation of not having the same thing that everyone else has? Talking about your family’s values insulates children from feeling deprived: “In our family, we think what’s inside a person is what really counts, not the toys they have.” Here are some more tips:

• Encourage long wish lists. When you realize that you can never get everything you want, it helps limit desires to the few really important ones.

• Encourage joint efforts. If the child can save this much toward the desired item, can the parent help? This also sets up a delayed gratification system.

• Role model your family’s values. If you’re purchasing things that seem frivolous, the child will expect the same privilege.

• Download “Tips for Parenting in a Commercial Culture” from www.newdream.org.

• Get one expensive item and several inexpensive items; e.g., a bicycle and a batch of playdough.

• Your time with your child is the best gift.

• Volunteer with your child. A nature center, a food bank, or visiting with a neighbor teaches many lessons.

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