Everyone has experienced the green-eyed monster at some stage of their lives, learning to manage it is an important part of any preschool child’s emotional development. As children grow, they become aware of their interests and desires. Often, they want what they want, and they want it now. Guiding them through those emotions can be especially difficult when they are exposed to many things that pique their interest.
As their screen time increases and they spend more time with their peers, some children adopt greater materialistic interests and as their vocabulary grows, they learn to express those to their parents. Some parents find their children nagging for toys or acting-out overwhelming.
There are ways to overcome “the gimmees” your child is experiencing. Here, we take a look at what you can do to guide your child through their phase of greed. We start by identifying the source and providing activities to help teach children about gratitude.
Find The Gimmee Generator
The first step to overcoming “the gimmees” is finding its source. Children are influenced by their family members, their friends, and all forms of media. Understanding where the desire for your child’s list of wants stems from is helpful because it provides a starting point for the conversation.
Over the last decade, there has been an increase in marketing targeting children. With more children accessing TV, consumers are becoming younger, even though children are not directly buying these products. The marketing bombarding children affirms the idea that consumer goods bring happiness. As children become more aware of themselves, they become more susceptible to the marketing they are exposed to.
To reduce the impact television and social media marketing has on children, parents should try having honest conversations with children about the content they are consuming. Explaining that the person on the screen is an actress or that a toy does not necessarily work as presented can help children overcome their feelings of urgency.
When children see a peer enjoying a toy or if they think that “everyone has it,” it’s only natural for a desire for that object to grow. Parents should speak honestly to children about why they cannot have something. It can be helpful to use phrases like “In our family…” – doing this helps children understand that different families have different rules and values.
Activities That Teach Gratitude
Teaching children to focus on what they have instead of what they don’t can help to instill gratitude from a young age.
Crafting is a great way to teach children in an engaging way. Designing crafting activities centered around gratitude will encourage children to think about their lives and what they have. Making a gratitude collage with cutouts or drawings about what they are thankful is one way to help children practice gratitude.
Donating & Philanthropy
Making children an active part of charity work can teach children to be grateful. As they become aware of other children that are less fortunate than them, children who are more fortunate could develop a desire to share what they have. Asking your child to put aside old toys or clothing and telling them what will happen to those items can be a meaningful way to teach children about empathy and gratitude.
As children grow, they experience new emotions and display different behavioral patterns. It’s the role of parents and teachers to educate children about what they are experiencing and to help them navigate through those, sometimes difficult, periods of emotional development.
At Parkland Children’s Academy, our thoughtful preschool curriculum is designed to teach children cognitive, emotional, and social skills. Contact us today to talk about your child’s early development.