Dos and Don’ts When Dealing with Christmas Gift Jealousy

By in Parenting on 01 December 2010

Gift jealousy is one of the biggest concerns of parents when buying Christmas presents for their children. The excitement of receiving and opening gifts on Christmas can quickly fade away when a child turns into a green-eyed monster.

It’s natural for children to somehow feel envious of another one’s toys. Siblings and cousins are the ones most prone to get jealous with each others’ gifts. Here are some tips on how to avoid and deal with Christmas gift jealousy when it happens:

DO:

  • Be fair when buying gifts for each child. Try to get them the same amount of gifts in about the same sizes. A child might feel bad watching other kids open the rest of their presents after he has opened all of his. Similarly, they might compare their gifts to see who got the biggest gift. Price value of gifts may still not matter to small children, so you don’t have to sweat on that detail yet.
  • Give a family gift. Instead of buying individual trinkets for each family member, get one big present for the whole family to enjoy. An example of a big present is a game console or a fully-stocked craft cart.
  • Give a gift that promotes sharing. Give your loved ones personal gifts that can be used together as a family such as camping tools and theme park passes.
  • Find out what your child really wants. You don’t need to do an extensive research. Just clip a wish list on your refrigerator and pick something from what they wrote. For younger children, bring them to the mall and observe what they seem most interested in. When your child is contented with what she got, she won’t get jealous of other kids’ toys anymore.
  • Explain why one child received a better gift than the other. In case gift jealousy happens, try to explain why an older sibling, for example, received a better gift than the younger one. Mention the age appropriateness of the gifts and convince the younger child that her gift is equally good.

DON’T

  • Give additional presents. A child should learn to overcome disappointment. Do not promise to buy more gifts because your child was not satisfied with what he got. Supplementary gifts do not address the issue of jealousy; it may only make a child spoiled.
  • Choose identical gifts to curb jealousy. Even twins will appreciate separate gifts. Make an effort to treat each child individually when choosing a Christmas gift. Different gifts may cause comparison, but it may also encourage sharing between children.
  • Create a scene over one gift. Show the same amount of excitement for the child who received the hottest Christmas toy and the one who received a so-so gift. Doing so will make sure the other child doesn’t feel left out or less special.
  • Pick an outrageous gift that you know other kids will be probably be jealous of. Save that kind of gift for a birthday instead. Christmas is not the time to put a child in the spotlight.
  • Confiscate a gift that is being fought over. Allow the children to resolve the issue by teaching them to share or take turns. Younger children may not understand the concept of sharing though, so let the older child give way to the little one and praise him for being generous.

Let the children learn to appreciate and be thankful for what they have to minimize Christmas gift jealousy. It’s important for children to learn the value of giving than taking, especially during Christmas time.

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