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How Much is Too Much?

All I want for (insert occasion here) is one of these, and one of these, and, oh! ALL of these! Please? (Picture adorable face of child, grandchild, nephew or niece, eyes wide, smiling hopefully.)



This time of year tends to bring out the generous in everyone. Unfortunately, that can turn into excess for many of us, including, or should I say especially, children. If you are one gift shy of having to build a new room on your home, you may wish to consider some of these suggestions from wise people who have adjusted their thinking on the overabundance of their birthday and holiday giving:

  • Focus on what you can give or do for others who really need a day-brightener. You know who they are and what they need. Let your kids help with the preparation and presentation. Make people the spotlight of your celebration.
  • If you know the gifts are coming from far and wide, don’t add to it. Use your resources to provide a dance lesson, concert ticket or sporting event with just one child at a time. Make it something special to enjoy together, not something more to step on in the dark.
  • If you feel you have to have a pile of presents under the tree and your kids love to unwrap stuff, buy some needed clothing items and wrap them. This is how children learn to say thank you, even when they don’t really love the gift.
  • Spend every day being grateful for what you have. Children learn to have an attitude of gratitude from the adults they love and trust.
  • Purchase a particular number of gifts that each person will open. The suggestion is generally three, and make one of those something to wear.
  • Incorporate plenty of physical activity and/or games into every celebration to make great memories. Take plenty of photos. These activities will lessen the focus on high-calorie treats and gifts, gifts, gifts.

One awesome gift to give yourself it a totally free online parenting class on overindulgence.  University of Minnesota Extension and Jean Illsley Clarke have teamed up to bring you this one-hour class atoverindulgance book

In addition, the popular book “How Much is Too Much? Raising Likeable, Responsible, Respectful Children, From Toddlers to Teens, In an Age of Overindulgence” by Jean Illsley Clarke, Connie Dawson and David Bredehoft is a gift in itself. 

Kim Bushaw, Extension Specialst for Human Development and Family Science

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