There are a number of different reasons why you may be spoiling your child. You may want to ensure that they get everything that you missed out on as a child. You may want them to know that you are there for them and that you love them. You may not be able to resist their pleading puppy dog eyes, or you may get so much joy from watching them get excited that it is hard to resist spoiling them. Whatever the case, spoiling your child can be problematic, not only for your bank account but also for the development of your child. If you do feel like your child may be getting a little too much these days, whether it is in the form of toys, treats or anything else, then here are some tips that can help you regain control.
Set Attainable Limits
You may let your child pick out one small treat after being a good boy or girl at the shops. Or, you may offer them one small toy if they finish all their school work. Have a certain limit in place and ensure that they understand these limits. If they think there is room to negotiate, you can bet that they will try and do it.
Choose the Right Phrases
When your child asks for something, use clear words such as “one biscuit” or “twenty minutes” so that they know that once they have had their treat, that is enough. Saying something like “yes you can have that” without setting a limit to how many leaves the child with the idea that they are free to decide just how many they are allowed to have.
Know YOU are the boss
When your child is crying, throwing a tantrum, begging or screaming it can be hard to stand your ground and stay firm. Tell yourself (and your child) that you are the boss. Sometimes you need to remind yourself of this and it is okay. Stand back, take a breathe and come back to the situation in control. Remember, you are the grown up, they are the children!
Teach them to work for it
Spoiling children is dangerous because it can give them the sense that they are entitled to everything simply because they want it. This is not how the world works; you need to work for things you want and the earlier your child learns this, the better. We are not suggesting that you force a toddler to mow the lawn for an allowance before he is allowed a toy, but that you incorporate the idea of chores, picking up after himself and other small tasks before you offer a reward.
Watch out for others
One of the biggest problems when it comes to setting boundaries and limits is that when relatives visit, often these boundaries go out the door. One biscuit doesn’t exist in Nana’s world. Just remember, you’re the boss. This may mean sitting down and having a chat to the grandparents and other spoiling-culprits out there. Let them know the rules of the house and when and how much is acceptable.
Spoil them with time, not treats
Often a child will ask for a treat or a toy because they are bored. Instead of giving in, distract them with something else fun that you can do together. Often spending time with you is just as good as a new race car or a food treat.
It can be hard saying no to your child and no parent wants to disappoint their baby. However, learning how to appreciate a treat and how to work for rewards are two important lessons in life that you will be pleased they learned from you, even if it means a few tears and tantrums along the way.