NDSU Extension - Morton County


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December 17, 2018 How Much is Too Much?

Liz Larson, Parent & Family Resource Center

Dates to remember:
December 24 – Morton County Courthouse closed
December 25 – Morton County Courthouse closed
December 26 – 4-H Weird Science, Mandan
December 28 – 4-H Blanket Party, Mandan
January 2 – My First Business: Babysitting class, Mandan
January 3 & 10 - Basic Beginnings, Mandan
January 17 – Parents Forever session, Mandan


How Much is Too Much?

All I want for Christmas is one of these, and one of these, and, oh! ALL of these! Please?? (Insert an image of your adorable child, grandchild, nephew, niece, etc.) This time of year tends to bring out the generous in everyone. Unfortunately, that can turn into excess for many of us including, or especially, for 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 holiday giving.

  • Focus on what you can give or do for others who really need a day-brightener. Let your kids help with the preparation and presentation, making people the spotlight of your celebrating rather than gifts or things.
  • If you know the gifts are coming from far and wide, don’t add to it. Use your resources to provide an ‘experience gift’ such as a dance lesson, concert ticket, or sporting event to make for a special one-on-one time with a child. Make it something to remember, rather than just something for you to trip over in the hallway.
  • 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 also how children learn to say thank you, even when it may be something they are not as excited about.  
  • Purchase a particular number of gifts that each person will open. Some people use the rule of four: one thing they want, one thing they need, one thing to wear, and one thing to read!
  • Incorporate plenty of physical activity and/or games into the celebration to make great memories. Take plenty of photos and use these activities to lessen the focus on high-calorie treats and gifts, gifts, gifts.

There are plenty of other gift-giving ideas online if you are looking to give something other than another toy. Ideas include:  

  • Amusement park tickets, zoo or pool passes
  • Create a redeemable punch card or ‘coupon book’ for activities such as ice cream date with a parent, game night, impromptu movie night, etc. 
  • Magazine subscription or commit to sending a small post-card or letter each month if you live at a distance – kids love getting their own mail!
  • Music lessons or concert tickets
  • Their own tools for gardening, camping, or other outdoor activity
  • Gift given to a charity chosen by the child
  • Books or audio books to build the excitement about reading
  • Find out the child’s latest interest and get creative with incorporate into one-on-one time

These resources and others are pulled from our website, adapted from article by Kim Bushaw, Extension Specialist for Human Development and Family Science.  https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/cff/posts/how-much-is-too-much

For other resources and programs for parents and families contact Liz.Larson@ndsu.edu or call 701-667-3342.




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