[ASK LINA] How many gifts should I give my kids during the holidays?

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Ask Lina is a special editorial series where we invite you to send us your parenting questions in the comments below and our teen & tween emotional expert, Lina Acosta Sandaal, gives you tips that will help you navigate these crucial “in-between years.”

Originally Posted in StopParentingAlone.com

If we think carefully, many gifts and traditions proceed from a parental desire or belief system.

It is important to think about what it is that we are teaching our kids about holiday traditions and how to feel in harmony and community with our family. The question isn’t, how many gifts, but rather what do I want to teach my kids about the holiday season?

Each of us should think about our own family values. It is important to think of what it is we want our kids to understand about the holidays and teach them the value of what it is that we are celebrating.

The values that predominate are: being with family, be mutually giving, and being part of community. Remember that during birthday celebrations, for example, most children under six are perfectly entertained ripping up the wrapping paper and opening the boxes.

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When we buy gifts and toys we should very much have their development in mind. Here are some tips:

  • For children under twenty months, ideal toys are those that increase their gross motor development. For example, cars or wagons that they can push or pull.
  • For children between 24 months and 3 years, toys and books that increase communication skills are best. For example, books and toys with which they have to interact or that they have to activate.
  • For those over three, it is the age of imitation of mom and dad, and also of widening their fantasy world. For example, a dollhouse or a toy kitchen, toys that replicate the daily lives of their parents.

There is no magic number but if the kids are young, it is important to keep the number of gifts to a minimum. More than four gifts is excessive, especially if we take into account the gifts that the extended family will give to the child.  Be mindful that you may be the one giving them the message that more presents are better than less, especially to younger children.

Watch this video and get even more tips on helping your young children learn the true meaning of giving and receiving:

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