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In today’s world of advertising and material excess, raising a non-materialistic child is more difficult than ever.

Suppose an impressionable child stumbles across an Instagram page or billboard filled with extravagant clothes and gratuitous displays of wealth, for example. In that case, they will likely relate material goods with status and self-worth. However, one of the biggest obstacles to raising a non-materialistic child in a materialist culture is other parents. If a child sees that one of their friends is showered with gifts and toys regularly, they may grow resentful and question why they are not offered the same material possessions.

As you’re probably well aware, spoiling children encourages them to take money for granted and can leave them unprepared for the real world in later life. It can also make them feel inferior to classmates from less well-off backgrounds and hamper their ability to develop social and emotional skills such as empathy.

To avoid this fate and show your children that the best things in life are free, you must actively combat our materialistic culture. We’ve put together a few tips to show you how.

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1. Limit the number of gifts you bestow on your children

Giving your children gifts is a great way to brighten up their day and show them that you care about them. They also represent a fantastic way to mark events such as birthdays or Christmas. However, be mindful of how many gifts you are giving. A child with an abundance of toys will not learn to cherish their possessions and will not learn the value of material goods.

The more presents you give, your child’s expectations will be higher. Purchasing presents every weekend may bring your child some fleeting joy for a few hours, but once you have set a certain standard, they will be upset when you stop flooding them with gifts.

On top of making your kids more materialistic, there are several other reasons why having too many toys can be detrimental to kids’ development. Check them out here.

2. Teach them the value of experiences

Prioritizing experiences over material possessions is a great way to teach children that creating memories is key to making the most out of life.

Material goods may bring your children joy for a few months, but their novelty soon wears off, and your kids will start to crave the next new toy or fashion accessory.

If you’re yet to be convinced that you should give your kids experiences rather than toys for their next birthday, check out this fascinating research backing up the notion that days out and adventures are far more satisfying than material possessions.

3. Ask your kids to earn their treats

If your kid asks for something they want (rather than something they need), teach them the value of saving and delayed gratification by asking them to earn it. You could, for example:

  • Ask them to complete a number of chores to earn money needed for the treat.
  • Set up a savings budget that you feed a little money into every week to show your kids the power of saving.
  • Tell them you will buy them the item once a certain amount has elapsed. They may have changed their mind after a week or two, something that you can turn into a learning opportunity.

4. Teach kids to be skeptical of advertisements

Young children are very impressionable, so you must teach them to be skeptical of advertising from an early age and limit their exposure. Indeed, the fewer adverts your children watch, the less they crave them.

Teach kids to deconstruct ads by letting them know how and why companies are trying to sell their items. Talk about the techniques used in the adverts, such as the inclusion of bright colors and flashy texts. This will increase your child’s understanding of marketing and improve their resistance to seductive messages.

5. Teach them gratitude

Reminding kids about how fortunate they are will dampen their desire for more material possessions. It may also encourage them to get involved with charities and to learn to share with other kids.