Free our kids: Stopping consumerism in a three year old



I am having an "I am a bad parent" day today.  I yanked Little Miss O off a train today as she was throwing a hissy fit because I asked her not to take her doll's clothes off, and I couldn't take the pressure cooker atmosphere and the accusing eyes in a small, enclosed place.  A simple request, I would have thought, but no.  I felt bad about losing my temper 'though.  Then, tonight, after discussing with me at length her favourite paintings at the art exhibition we saw today, she told me "art galleries are boring." Finally, she told me, after I explained to her that we didn't buy anything at the gift shop because we didn't need anything and we didn't have any money (really - cue me emptying my change purse to pay for our ticket home.  Haha!) that she wanted "more, more, more stuff" and that she wanted everything at the shops.

Sigh.

I don't blame her, really.  She is, after all, three years old.

I have been looking at my parenting manifesto that I wrote a while back, and whilst I agree with all of it, I need to take a more step by step approach to it rather than broad, sweeping statements.  Therefore, I have some things I would like to put into action straight away to at least work on the "want, want, want" aspect of today.

1) Avoid taking her to shops as much as possible.  Of course, we have to buy food and at the moment, it is summer holidays and she is with me all the time.  ALL the time.  I really mean ALL the time. Night and day. Err..but yes - I want to avoid all other shopping as much as is humanly possible.

2) Avoid talking about stuff I want or looking at shopping websites while she is around.  I have to lead by example, I know.  If she sees me lusting after picnic backpacks, then why shouldn't she also have material wants?

3) Spend more time with her.  To be honest, I'd much rather be holed up in my craft room making things than playing Sylvanians, (or in fact, bashing my head against a brick wall) but I think I am going to bust out a book of fun things to do that she received when she was born and work our way through them over the holidays.  More library, more baking, more park, more craft.  If I can dedicate myself solely to her for at least an hour a day, then I think she will feel more valued and see less need for material goods.  I hope.

4) Avoid buying stuff.  Any stuff.  Not by post or at the shops or anything.

5) Teach her more about the art of giving by making more handmade cards/letters to send to friends, baking more cakes to give to neighbours, donating things to charity and perhaps even starting up a charity box we can drop our coins into.

So - cross your fingers for me.  And if you have any great tips, please, please, please let me know!





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