I have a Christmas wish list: I want magnet socks that find each other in the washing machine and stay in happy union right through the laundry process and end up together in my drawer. I want batteries for my gadgets that never go flat and that shock my kids when they try and pinch them. And I want an extension power cord that will always stretch to the length I need.
Actually, a wish list can be a very useful tool to help tune up kids expectations around Christmas.
This time of year can stretch people financially… but kids often have grand ideas of what they should get… how do you bring them back down to earth?
Let them know that at Christmas time they can expect two things: first of all, excitement at the things they will get – it’ll be great! But they can also expect a little bit of disappointment, because there will never get everything that they want. And that is the way it will always be.
A great fun way to teach kids about the reality of cost is to get kids to go through the flyers and brochures and make up a ‘wish list’ – maybe cutting out pictures and sticking them on paper. Tell them it’s just for fun – they probably won’t be getting these things, it’s just a ‘pretend’ game. Say. “Imagine you had $1000 and could get anything you want, what would you get?” Then say, “If you only had $100 to spend, what would you get?” Help them add up the costs as they discard items to fit their budget. Maybe whittle the amount even lower, and let them know, “This is more like what we have to spend on presents this year”. They learn to prioritise and work out what they really want.
By the way, if you do this a couple of times leading up to Christmas, you might notice that some items are consistently on their wish list – it might be a useful guide for your present buying.
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