My kid keeps asking for new toys but loses interest in them quickly. How should I encourage him to play with all of them?

“Gimme-gimme” behavior is normal for three- to five-year-olds and not a sign that you’re raising a greedy kid. At this age, they have a hard time controlling their desires and impulses, not to mention understanding the concept of delayed gratification. (Hey, that’s something even adults struggle with.) The result: They see, they want, they beg. Here are some tips you may find it useful:

1) Just say no. It’s not always easy — after all, you love to see that little smile, especially when you make it happen But always saying yes to your child’s demands can result in a greedy kid who doesn’t appreciate all the wonderful things he/she has. So simply and firmly say, “No, we’re not going to buy that today.” Remind your child that he/she has toys which is still new.

2) Give a heads-up. If you don’t plan on buying your child a treat at the store, mention that beforehand.

3) Write it down. All kids are selfish at this age — remember, your child doesn’t understand the difference between a 50-cent toy from a vending machine and a $50 item from a shelf. So if he sees something expensive that he absolutely must have, don’t dismiss his plea right away. Tell him you’ll add it to his birthday or holiday wish list, or that you’ll consider the request if he still wants it in a week. (Chances are good he’ll forget about it by then.) By writing down the request, your preschooler will know that you’re taking him seriously, but you skip the instant-gratification give-in that often causes greedy kid behavior.

4) Reward with activities, not objects. There are times when you’ll want to say yes to your kid’s requests — because he’s been on his best behaviour. Consider rewarding your child with activities — like extra stories at bedtime this week or an extra-long trip to the park — rather than objects, so he doesn’t automatically equate rewards with material things.

Contributed By: 

Ruth Chia
Curriculum and Programme Manager
NTUC First Campus Co-operative Limited