Formula for a happy festive season! Experts reveal why parents should only give teens TWO presents this Christmas as going overboard with gifts ‘desensitises’ children to the holiday
- Dr Jenna Vyas-Lee said overloading children with presents sets a bad example
- Expert said too many gifts can lose their meaning to children over time
- Others urged parents to buy presents within four set categories this year
What jumps to mind when you think of Christmas morning? Chances are, it’s a beautifully decorated tree surrounded by a mountain of perfectly wrapped presents.
But amidst the ongoing cost of living crisis, this Christmas might look a little different to usual for families across the UK.
However cutting back on the number of gifts this year could actually be a good thing for your children’s development, according to several experts.
Speaking to FEMAIL, psychologist Dr Jenna Vyas-Lee said parents should only be getting their teenagers a maximum of two presents this year as children can become ‘desensitised’ to having lots of presents to rip open in the morning.
The expert said: ‘[How many gifts Father Christmas brings] is a very personal thing, think about the age of the child and their personality.
According to psychologist Dr Jenna Vyas-Lee, cutting back on presents is actually a good thing for children as they can become ‘desensitised’ over time
‘Do they like playing with one thing over and over or do they spend time moving between different things?’
Rather than binge-opening them all the gifts in one go, the expert – who founded the Kove practice in London – recommended spreading the joy over the course of the day if parents are worried their children might start taking their presents for granted.
But when it comes to teenagers, the expert urged parents to take a more regimented approach – as too many presents can lose their meaning over time.
The psychologist said: ‘Older kids might have asked for something like a piece of tech or a new bike so parents might limit the presents to one or two things given the cost.
Laura Davies, Managing Director at The Kid Collective, recommended following a four-step approach for younger children. The expert urged parents to buy ‘something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read’ and
How to stop your child boasting about their presents at school:
Parenting expert Sue Atkins said: ‘Children might boast for many reasons. Firstly, they might lack self-confidence and boast to make themselves feel better. Boasting also occurs among children because they aren’t sure of themselves and their place in the world at home or at school. By boasting they get attention and feel significant and important.
‘So, what can you do about it? If your child boasts, you can help your child gain self-confidence – so praise, encourage and noticing what they do well, get right or excel at. Praise their kindness, patience, tenacity, or good manners. Children need to know that they are loved for who they are, not what they achieve.
‘When your child boasts they are indirectly asking people to notice them and feel proud of them. Regularly show your child what they mean to you and how proud you really are of them and watch their confidence increase. If you provide them with the necessary praise, they will have no need to boast in order fulfil any unmet need and will know that they count, are important, significant and that they matter.
Describing how an excessive number of presents sets a bad example for children, Dr Jenna added: ‘It’s too much when parents get themselves into debt or find themselves making sacrifices to keep up with “fashionable” gifts.
‘The best way to raise kind, less entitled children is to model that behaviour as an adult, show gratitude to others in front of them, have empathy for people in different circumstances.’
When it comes to Christmas shopping, Laura Davies, Managing Director at The Kid Collective sticking to a strict four-step shopping list for children.
She explained: ‘Try the strategy of [shopping for] “something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read”.
‘Or if you want to extend it further you could add “something to do, something for ‘me’, something for the family”.
‘This is a great way to break gift-giving down in a manageable, and meaningful way that also works to promote well-being, gratitude and family time.’
What’s more, Laura stressed the importance of teaching children how much their presents are worth too.
She continued: ‘By the age of three, kids will start to understand basic money concepts, and at the age of five will start to learn about money and handling cash as part of the school curriculum.
‘It is important that children can distinguish the value of things from a young age- they may start off believing large items to be more expensive than small items for example, and we can encourage learning in this area by making it fun and interactive.
‘Promote the understanding of the difference between ‘need’ and ‘want’ and also around affordability. If something is out of reach, work together to explore ideas for more affordable options.’