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Toddler Discipline – Discouraging Materialism In Toddlers

Buying stuff for your toddler is fine, but giving in to his demands all the time can make him materialistic. Here are some toddler discipline tips to help keep your toddler from equating things with happiness.

Set A Good Example

Parents are the best role model for their children. If you want to stop your toddler from developing an insatiable desire for things, let him see you behaving with control and wisdom. Evaluate yourself. Do you shop impulsively? Love buying designer labels? Are you only happy when you have new things? Remember, children like imitating their parents. So if you want to discourage materialism in your toddler, you have to let go of your own materialism.

Window shop together without buying anything to demonstrate that while it is nice to look at store displays, you do not necessarily have to purchase something each time you go to a store. Or, when looking at a catalogue, you can say something like “I like this new flat screen HD TV but our old one still works just fine.”. Explaining these things will help get the message across.

Limit Screen Time

The media, especially TV commercials can pressure toddlers to get the latest robot or shoes. Limit your toddler’s screen time so his exposure to TV commercials and “I want that” mindset is reduced. Record his favorite programs so you can skip the ads. Watch more movies. Discuss the marketing techniques used in commercials with your toddler.

Teach Your Toddler About Money

Believe it or not, a 4-year old can understand the value of money. Give your toddler weekly household chores and an allowance once he finishes them. This will make him realize that money should be earned. Teach your toddler how to use it. Give him a small piggy bank and ask him to save half of his money and half is his to spend as he chooses. If he says “Mommy, I want that toy” at the store, say something like “This costs four dollars. Do you have enough money to pay for it?”.

Do Not Use Things As A Reward

Rewarding good behaviour with buying your toddler something he likes is okay, but it should not be done all the time as this will make him associate the reward with good behaviour which will only cause problems later in life. Use other incentives such as letting him play at the playground a little longer, cooking his favorite food for dinner or reading him an additional bedtime story.

Give Back

Teach your toddler to give back. Ask him to clean out his closet and pick a few toys and clothes to donate to homeless shelters. Let him tag along when bringing food for a sick relative. Help out in a soup kitchen. These activities instil an outlook that will help counteract materialism.

Focus On Things That Matter

Teach your toddler how to express gratitude for the deeper value of things. Make gifts instead of buying them. Explain to your little one how much you value the blanket grandma gave you for your 18th birthday. Spend time with your toddler no matter how busy your schedule is. Play hide and seek. Take afternoon walks. Ride a bicycle. Go on road trips during weekends.

Teaching your toddler that there is more to life than brand-new, modern and cooler stuff is the best way to ensure he does not become materialistic so he can enjoy the true joys of life.

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April 2015
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