The following post is from Melissa Batai
The holiday season is right around the corner, and with it, a child’s wish list. You know, the one that your child may spend hours creating after looking at all the latest and greatest on the internet? While I fondly remember pouring over Christmas catalogs when I was little looking for the gifts I wanted, as a parent, my perspective is different. I want my children to go through this childhood ritual, but that often leaves me in a difficult position when they request something expensive and outside the budget. It’s hard to say no to your kids when it comes to expensive gifts, but there are ways to make it easier.
Let Them Know Your Budget
If your children know your budget, that may help curb the expensive gift requests. I never intended to tell my kids our gift budget, but one day, my practical daughter asked me. I told her our budget for birthday gifts and Christmas gifts, and now she’s very good at tailoring her gift list around that number. For instance, she would love a trampoline, but she knows not to add it to her list because it’s more than we pay for a big gift. Since she knows the budget, she knows not to expect it even though she really wants it.
Just Say No
If you don’t want to let your kids know your budget or if that doesn’t deter them, just say no. While saying no can feel painful for both you and the child, it’s an important lesson. We can’t always get what we want in life. Even as adults, we don’t get all the things we want because we don’t have enough money, or have different priorities, or the item is not available. You don’t do your child any favors by always buying them everything they want. If you do, they will be in for a shock when they enter adulthood and get their first firm no.
Help Them Save for It
If your child really wants an item that costs more than you can afford, offer to chip in if the child saves most of the money for it. For example, let’s say your child wants a Nintendo Switch, which usually runs $299. You might tell your child if she saves $200, you’ll chip in $100. Here’s where you discover how badly your child wants the item. If she is willing to work hard and save for months, you know she really wants it.
Also, you’re teaching your child a good lesson about fortitude and hard work. Your child will be proud of her accomplishment if she saves for months and is able to buy the item she wants.
I’ll be honest, when I suggest this route for items my kids want, they usually decide they don’t want the item that badly.
We live in an electronic age, and there are many, many expensive gifts kids will likely request. As a parent, don’t assume you have to say yes and strain your budget. There are plenty of other ways to handle this situation.
My Thoughts for You
Do you buy expensive gifts for your kids? If you do, how often do you do so? If you don’t, what do you do instead? Do you use any of the strategies listed above to say no?