“I want that!” It is a common cry from most toddlers and preschoolers. As kids get older, that simple demand might turn into, “Everybody has these sneakers” or “But anybody who does not have this video game is a loser.” No matter the age, having a kid with “the gimmes” is frustrating—but there are ways to break this bad habit.
One of the easiest ways to combat greed is to teach generosity. Even the youngest kids can sort through their toys, games, and books with help, choosing ones to donate to a particular charity. Older kids can donate books, clothing, and video games to local causes such as a coat drive, the library, or a technological initiative for disadvantaged schools or classrooms.
Additionally, keep in mind that generosity also means doing small things for others. Your child is being generous whenever he waits his turn at the slide or swings or when she lets a friend pick first from a selection of toys or stickers. You can set an example by doing generous things for your child, such as helping with chores or making a favorite meal.
Give Experiences, Not Gifts
Birthdays and Christmas are associated with material gifts. These are fine, but your kids should also know the value of non-material presents. For instance, take a child who loves science to an aquarium or museum. Volunteer with your child at an animal shelter or nursing home; he or she may request donations instead of gifts, like this girl who took up donations for a no-kill shelter at her birthday party.