Materialism: The Dictionary had two great definitions:
- A doctrine that the only or the highest values or objectives lie in material well-being and in the furtherance of material progress
- A preoccupation with or stress upon material rather than intellectual or spiritual things
- Limit Exposure to Advertising
I still remember watching the 1980s commercial that portrayed two stylish girls playing excitedly with a doll whose hair color changed with a ‘magic’ wand (stick that was wet on the end). Commercials suck you in and make you feel a way about something before you even know it. Children are no match for people who have marketing degrees and years of experience in advertising strategies.
I’ve been glad that since we have Netflix and don’t need TV, commercials have not been as much of an issue for us.
Magazines can help children to choose between things, but again, items are set up in a way to look nicer and more meaningful then they are. Little hearts are influenced more quickly then we sometimes think.
-Limit Gifts (If possible)
-From Relatives and Friends
This is obviously hard. It’s not worth ruining relationships over, but here are a couple tried and true methods.
- Ask relatives to get items that are in a certain genre. My aunts have helped me attain wooden learning toys that were out of my budget and have loved doing it. They’ve also supplied my girls with all their dresses the last couple years. (Again something that gets pricey, but aunts enjoy buying!)
- When gifts are in excess, even children can perceive the chaos. Later, after the situation is over. Point out the chaos. “Did you notice that we opened so many gifts, we didn’t even get to talk?” or “Did you notice how stressful getting the car packed was? Now we have to get rid of other nice things because we got so much!”
- Ask relatives to give toward one large gift. Lydia and her husband bought their 2 year old a special $70 learning item for his last birthday. They sent pictures to all the relatives via email and an explanation of why they thought the gift was idea for where he was at developmentally. They then asked that gifts for that birthday be monetary to contribute to the unusually high cost of his gift.
- From YOURSELF
We are our own worst enemies. No one loves our kids more then we do, and we want them to have the________. Stop yourself from grabbing something here and there. Instead do research, plan ahead, and limit your shopping to a small number of good quality gifts.
Our kids get ONE or TWO gifts from us for their birthday and for Christmas. (It usually is a fun gift and a practical gift or just a fun gift.) They also get a present for Easter because Easter is an important holiday to me as a Christian.
-If they are little, limit excess toys in the first place!
(if they are 2 and under) GET RID OF A LOT! Before they notice things are missing, get their toys down to as little as possible. I did it. It helped a lot! My son did notice that the toys had gone from 2 big boxes down to 3/4s of one, but he could not think what was missing so after a couple minutes of fussing, he got over it.
-If they are older help them develop habits to pick the best and get rid of clutter. (Maybe help them to get their toys down to a number that will fit in one box, or shelf unit.)
What are systems or methods that have helped you limit materialistic mindsets or excess possessions in our home?