Inside: Use these free printables to help kids combat the gimmes and focus on giving. Every time they write down something they want on their wish list, they can add something they want to give away.
The last time I took my kids to the store, they immediately found the toy section.
Oooh, I want that. I want this. I want this!!! Can I have this? My friend has this, I want it too!
And ever since they were little, to combat the gimmes and avoid a full meltdown in the store, we offer to take a picture of it and put it on their wish list.
So when they’re whining in the store about wanting something, I get to say “yes.” Yes, let’s put it on your wish list.
When they were younger their wishlist was virtual…my memory. If they still asked for it closer to their birthday or December, then I knew they really did want it and to suggest it as a gift item for a family member to give them.
But most of the time, they forgot about the doll or the toy.
Now that my kids are older and can write, they love to go”shopping” for their wish list; then they come home and put the items on an actual wish list.
So that combats the gimmes because they don’t get what they want when they want it; they experience delayed gratification and have to really want something before they can ask for it.
But since my kids have large families and get most things on their wish lists, we needed something more to focus on less on the getting and more on the giving when it comes to holidays and birthdays.
And for that, we make a Things I Want and a Things I Want to Give List.
Why It’s Important to Focus on Giving
My children are very privileged and lucky to have everything they need and a ton of what they want.
So because of that, we want our kids to be grateful for what they have.
One, because so many people do not have what they need or want.
But also because grateful people are happier people.
When we focus on what we have rather than what we don’t have, we can appreciate what we have and then can happily give to others.
During Christmas, we focus on giving with this incredible sibling tradition.
After holidays and birthdays, we focus on being thankful by helping our kids write meaningful thank you notes and we thank our teachers and school staff with these Educator Thank You Notes.
And we also spend a lot of time volunteering as a family so we can give to others. Join our Family Volunteer Challenge and get family-friendly ways to give to others that take less than 30 minutes a month.
We also help our kids during the times when they have the biggest wants (December and their birthdays) and focus on giving to others with the Things I Want/Things I Want to Give printable.
How to Help Kids Focus on Giving and Less on Gimmes
1. Download and print out the Wish List perfect for your kids (download it below)
2. As your kids approach a birthday or a December holiday, they’ll probably have things on their wish list. Instead of saying “no,” try saying, “Let’s put it on your wish list.”
3. Print out the appropriate sheet for your family/time of year for each child: birthday, Christmas, Hanukah, or generic wish list.
3. As your kids write down a gift they want, encourage them to think about one thing they want to give.
Have a conversation about giving vs. getting and which one feels better (most kids will think getting feels better for now and that’s okay…explain why giving also feels great.)
To help with ideas for giving:
- they could give something they already own and no longer need or use (clothes, books, toys, stuffed animals),
- they could give something they want to buy with some of their money to give to someone (a toy, a meal, Toys for Tots/angel trees),
- they could give something that ‘costs’ their time (volunteering to help, doing a chore for someone, drawing or making a card or gift),
or they could give something that costs nothing at all (hugs, a compliment, a thank you).
Because when we focus on giving, we focus less on the wanting and the receiving.
Which makes the holidays so much more meaningful for our kids.