How to Not Raise Material Girls (and Boys)
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Teaching your children to save and to budget will help them develop a rational attitude to material goods. However, learning to love the parts of life that don't come wrapped in plastic is an even more crucial childhood process, and here, according to Donna Bee Gates, parents play a central part.
"First," says Gates, "parents must be role models for their children in terms of demonstrating that career choices and happiness has nothing to do with spending money or impressing others. Parents can steer their children towards developing passions and talents.
"Less exposure to media is helpful too. The more television a child watches, the higher his or her scores on materialism scales. Parents can help to increase their children's media literacy; their understanding of the workings behind advertising, the ways in which programming can create the desire to amass goods, and programming that can actually be constructive."
Money Can't Buy You Mud
Ten ways to engage and entertain your kids that don't come with a receipt:
1. Get out into nature: go for a hike or a walk along the beach
2. Write stories
3. Play soccer or fly a kite
4. Have a "dance party" - dress up in silly clothes, put on some music, and shake your booty
5. Make "potions" in the park - fill old plastic cups with dirt, pebbles, and other magic stuff, plus water; or go on a hunt for "dinosaur bones" (rocks and twigs) and "fairies"
6. Let them help -painting a fence in the backyard, doing laundry, even washing up can be fun and fulfilling for younger kids
7. Create a scrapbook
8. Play board games: kids love anything from checkers to Scrabble
9. Tie-dye some old shirts
10. Bake a cake or try a new recipe