Christmas Present Pestering

Parenting tips by Claire HalseyChristmas is drawing nearer and your child’s Christmas lists are probably growing longer and longer by the day.

No one wants to disappoint their child, but for the vast majority of parents it is not possible to meet all the demands of that Christmas present list.

It is also more helpful to your child if they are taught that some of their wants can be met but other things must wait. Learning to delay getting what you want is a good lesson for any child as many goals in life must be worked for and come at the end of a time of learning or practice. Examples include reaching educational goals and having sporting achievements both of which come after hard work and effort.

Dear Santa

Top Tip 1                              
Christmas list management
You may be wondering how to manage your child’s frequent requests for toys or games. First of all help your child with their Christmas present list, they can make this by writing out their list, drawing the toys and games or cutting pictures from magazines and catalogues and sticking them onto card. Keep the list somewhere easy to reach, such as stuck on the fridge or notice board so your child can add to it or cross ideas out whenever they want.

Be very clear with your child that they will only receive some of the presents off their list, not all of them.

Oh Babies

Top Tip 2
Pester power
There will be times when you need to say ‘no’ and stick to it, perhaps when pestering is for presents or a toy at every visit to the shops. Once you have said “no” don’t change your mind. If you give in after your child has argued back then you’ve taught them exactly how loud or persistent they must be to get what they want. When pestering works your child is more likely to try it again. You can also remind them to put what they want on their list. This can also be an opportunity to say again that they will have some of the toys on the list, not all of them.

Don’t mind the audience
Being watched by strangers as your child pesters for the latest Christmas ‘must have’ can be so stressful that you may give in just to keep the peace. Unfortunately, whilst a few bystanders will tut tut, that you can’t control your child, the majority will be watching with sympathy as they’ve been through this themselves. Stay calm, forget your audience and ignore the pestering.

Top Tip 3
Start the saving habit
If your child has put some very expensive gifts on the list you may want to tackle them about it before Christmas day to avoid disappointment. It is difficult to explain to a child why they can’t have their chosen toy. Stick with a simple explanation rather than going into lots of detail about financial or other reasons. For example you might say “I’m sorry Josh, we won’t be getting the Nintendo this time around, we need to make sure everyone has a gift so you’ll need to wait and save up for such a big present.” You might encourage your child to start saving for larger items, for example by putting away any Christmas money they receive.

Top Tip 4
Charitable lesson
Christmas is also a time to teach your child about being charitable to others, for example by giving to those less fortunate. Many shops have places for donation of gifts at Christmas. Giving to others can help your older child get their own demands in perspective and start off good habits of giving in your younger children.

Parents Tips’
“ We get Catherine to cut pictures from theArgoscatalogue and stick them onto a wish list, this distracts her from pestering.”

“Let children know they can’t have everything and they’ll get some of the things they want.”

“In a supermarket I’d tell Issac to stop pestering and if he doesn’t listen  I’d ask him to sit in the trolley quietly for 2 minute. Then I’d praise him for doing so.”

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