Hi Calm Moms….
Surprised to hear from me? It’s been eons, I know. I have been swamped with work, speaking and writing commitments, keeping up my home, and of course, being a mom to two busy kids (they are now 4 and 6!). But, one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to start up my blog again. The more you all write in with questions and comments, the more inspired I will be
Here is what is on my mind today — how to tame “greediness” after the holiday season.
Apart from birthdays and the holiday season, we don’t tend to buy new toys for our kids. They get new books on a continual basis (my obsession as much as theirs) and we keep available a steady stream of craft supplies which both kids love. But, we have always tried to run errands to tempting stores like Target when they are in school and set ground rules before going places where we know there will be toys but where we don’t plan to buy them (for example, before going to the bookstore, we always say, “You can choose two books, but we are NOT buying toys”).
All of our best intentions about raising nice kids fly out the window at this time of year. Our children get several little gifts from us during the holidays and they also receive so many gifts from both sides of the family that by yesterday, my den looked like a tornado had hit. This morning, amidst all of this “stuff,” my daughter actually had the gall to ask (or actually beg) for something else she had seen over the break that she still really wants. I almost bit her head off. Calm, I was not.
But, really how can I blame her? She has spent the past two weeks receiving at least one gift per day. None of her wants have been denied. It is hard to re-establish austerity measures in our house!
So, here are some thoughts:
Give to charity after Christmas: Before the holiday break, most schools, churches, temples, and workplaces collect toys for needy kids. We had some unused toys put away and had the kids select some to give to these various collection sites. Although I plan to do this again in upcoming years so that needy kids can get gifts for the holidays, I am going to have the kids do another round of collection this weekend. Because they have so many new things to play with, I am going to ask them to choose a few toys they have outgrown to give to kids who got less than them for the holidays.
Start teaching kids the value of money: I am not sure the “right” age to start doing this, but my kids are 4 and 6 and the time seems ripe. Before the holidays, I started a chart at home to work on some specific behaviors. For each five points, the kids got one dollar to spend. My six year old daughter really wanted a new Dr. Seuss book. She worked so hard on her points and was amazed to learn after three weeks, that she had enough points to buy only 1/3 of her book! What an eye-opener. For kids of this age, it is important to give “in between” rewards so that they don’t lose faith and interest in their reward system. For example, after five points, you can have a child choose what the family will have for dinner one night, or be the one to select the movie on family movie night. But, there is nothing wrong with giving a child a longer term project to work on to start getting a sense of the relationship between hard work and money.
Get back to routine: For any of you who have read The Calm Mom blog before, you know I love routines. I know we have all been off routine during the holidays. My sister told me last night that her kids have been going to bed at 10:30 PM and waking up at 9 AM (they are 5 and 8!). My kids have received too many gifts and maybe become a little wee bit greedy. We can all get back on routine. Even if kids give us pressure, remember, they like the familiarity and comfort of routine. Gifts will be more treasured if they come only a few times a year!
What have you done to counter-act holiday greed? Please tell us here!!!