Coming up to Christmas and all I can think about is ‘more stuff’. Why do we need more stuff? For what? Our children often get into the full spirit of consumerism and are delighted and excited about getting more things – to replace the things they already have or to be given something new.
Getting more stuff is good isn’t it? Because then you have more choice about what you play with or what you wear. But is it really? Do we want our children to think that they need it all and more of it? Most of the things we have within our homes we don’t already use, don’t wear or don’t play with. So it is redundant.
We need our children to break out of the habit of thinking that they just have to have more stuff and appreciate what they already do have.
8 Ways To Discourage Consumerism in Children
- Encourage children to go through their things and keep the items that they use, then bag up and give away unused stuff to charity or a friend. This will get them to rediscover items in their rooms they have not used or worn and to help them see how much of their stuff they don’t need.
- Only buy them clothes when they grow out of them or for a special occasion.
- We can talk about our own purchases and why we bought something. Explain its functionality and its use. This will get children to see that we don’t just buy something for no reason.
- Teach them the value of money by encouraging them to save and spend – not just spend. We can also take children shopping so they are aware of the value of what things cost and what else is comparable to that amount.
- Educate them about other cultures and the world and the physical, emotional and essential things that people need to survive. Children need to know that it is not normal to have more and more stuff.
- Help children look at the reason why they want a particular thing – is it to make them feel better, happier? If so, we need to get them involved in other activities that will make them feel this way.
- Encourage them to share their toys, clothes and gadgets with their siblings so they don’t get bored of their own belongings (presents given or items they bought themselves.)
- We can help them to understand that there is no money tree and that just because the latest thing has come onto the market it does not mean that they have to have it. Their ‘thing’ is just as good.
We live in a consumer society and we cannot escape ‘stuff’ completely so it’s important to think about what you can do so your children are more grateful and less demanding to have this or that. It’s a great lesson for the future too.