Children want stuff.

Unfortunately, that natural desire is too often overwhelmed by our culture of consumerism. For many families, the mass marketing of everything from video games to new clothes is a constant part of their day. And as children grow and try to find their place in or culture, the idea that they have to own the latest and greatest gadget in order to fit in is heavily pressed.

So what can a parent do when their child becomes overcome by the “gimmie gimmie”s?

Begin by talking to your children, often, about the marketing that is all around them. When they see a commercial or an advertisement, explain it to them. Help them understand that many companies are willing to tell them anything in order to get them to spend money. Ask them if they really need it, or if they are just being tricked into it.

Cut off the consumerism’s ability to market to your children. Limit television time for your entire family to reduce the amount of commercials your child sees. This has an extra benefit because it also frees up time for your family to be together and have fun without watching television.

Encourage your child’s imagination. The latest toy and gadget is often being sold as a replacement for good old imagination. For thousands of years, kids have been playing and creating using the things they find all around them. Encourage your children to look for creative ways to have fun on their own.

Share with your children the reality of where those products come from. Many children feel a great deal of empathy towards others who are in less fortunate situations. Talk with your children about people working in poor countries and terrible conditions to make the newest plastic toy being marketed. You may be surprised how quickly your child changes his mind.

When the “gimmie gimmie”s begin it can feel overwhelming to parents. Suddenly everything your child sees becomes something that he wants. With a little effort though, you can stop those problems in their tracks and enjoy days with a little less consumerism.

Summer Minor is a mother and freelance writer living a simple life with her family along historic Route 66. She shares her passion for simplicity at her blog FindingSummer.com.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

sat nav January 19, 2011 at 4:05 pm

My child did this for the first time the other day so I decided to teach him a lesson about money. He really wanted a new toy while we were out shopping (it has just been Christmas so he has plenty of toys at the moment), so after plenty of whining from him I have in and bought it him. To his shock though when we went to do our food shock we did not have enough money to buy his favourite puddings (obviously we did but thats not for him to find out), he now has a much better understanding of resources and limits and knows he can only have so much without sacrificing something else.

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