If one of your parenting goals is to teach your children about the importance of not placing value on material things, you should know that it is a lofty goal. It’s an obtainable parenting goal for sure, but it does take some work. Today’s society is very materialistic, and thanks to social media, just about everyone knows what everyone else owns, wears, eats, and values. These life hacks can help you reach your parenting goal.
Help Them to Understand Costs
Parenting children to ensure that they do not place too much value on “things” starts with teaching them how much “things” cost and what type of sacrifice you may have to make for those things. Even a small child can understand what they have to “pay” to get another item. After all, life is all about trade-offs.
You can use game money or their favorite toys as currency to show how stressful it can be to “overbuy” things like cookies or other things your child desires. Make them pay for all their wants using their currency. For example, the child wants a new tablet, game system, or a new American Girl doll. Start collecting “currency” from the things that they already own to show them how much they would have to give up to have that new item. The visuals can be stunning and help them realize how expensive material things can be.
Stop Paying Them For Things They Should Be Doing
Parenting is tough. Many parents are willing to pay for good behavior or achievement. When you pay your child for good grades or for cleaning up their mess, you are sending the wrong signal. In life, you do not get rewarded for doing the things that you should be doing, even when you do them well.
Doing a good job at school or at home and being praised should be enough of a reward. Paying your child to do the right thing supports the idea that doing what you are supposed to be doing comes with material rewards. Parenting should not include bribery.
Be a Good Role Model
What does your lifestyle look like? One of the most effective parenting techniques is to model the behavior that you want your child to develop. ClosetMaid found that, of 2,000 people surveyed, about 50% admitted that they have a clutter problem. Are you in that 50%? If one of your parenting goals is to raise children that are not focused on materialistic things, then you may have to give up some of your own creature comforts to drive the point home.
Your children are watching you all the time, even when you are thinking they are not watching, and they are learning. The National Association of Home Builders found that 64% of new countertops installed were granite, making it a very popular choice. When you are considering changes to your home, do you think it is the best value or do you turn to the internet to see what everyone else is buying? If you do not want children that are materialistic, then you cannot be an adult, that is.
Give Them Other Options
It is hard to tell a child that materialism is bad without having another option. Make the backyard a fun place to explore. According to the National Association of Landscape Professionals, about 77% of people report they spend time once a month relaxing in their backyard. Build things together instead of buying things together. Show them how buying things is not quite as good as building something by hand and enjoying the pride that comes along with it.
Invest in chalk to make a hopscotch board, show them the value of simple things and how much fun it can be to be self-reliant. Parenting children that are not materialistic can be easier than you think. You may have to switch things around in your own life to achieve this parenting goal, but everyone will be happier for it.