Tackling "The Wants" - DuPage Children's Museum

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Tackling “The Wants”

December 14, 2023

Tackling “The Wants”

By Sweta Sobrin, DCM’s Sr. Manager for Early Learning & Family Engagement

Every year, parents arm themselves with tissues and thermometers, ready to battle cold and flu seasons. But there is another prevalent issue that children and families face around this time every year–The Wants! Between gatherings and gifting, celebrations and commercials on television, it can be hard to avoid the feeling of wanting versus needing new things. 

Conversations around gratitude can be tricky as children are still developing “theory of mind,” or the knowledge that others’ beliefs, emotions, and thoughts may be different from their own. This might make it seem like your children are not fully grasping the idea of the season of “giving” and instead are more focused on the “getting.” However, you are in luck! There are a few simple things you can do as a family to help refocus your conversations to alleviate some of the symptoms of “The Wants!”

Make Gifts

Make from everyday items! Cards with warm sentiments, clay ornaments, and painted pictures all make for lovely gifts for our closest friends and families. While creating, talk about the feelings the recipient will get knowing the thought and work you all put into making something with them in mind. Gifting is often not about the gift at all, but more about the idea that someone was thinking about you fondly.  

Shop Small

Gifting in this season is often unavoidable. In the case of needing to purchase something, consider shopping from a small local business or craft fair. Creators are often available to speak about the items they have made and sell, and it can be illuminating to hear about the materials and work that goes into making the items we buy. 

Join a Local Buy Nothing Group

A child smiles and places a stuffed animal into a box labeled "Donate." An adult helps, adding a folded sweater to the box.

Local Buy Nothing groups, often found on Facebook, are formed on the basis of asking for what you need, giving what you have, and expressing gratitude to your neighbors. Local groups are often neighborhood-based and offer a great way to give back to those around you. Find a group here: https://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group

There is often a weekly “Wishlist” where members post what they need the most. Sit with your children and look through the wishlist. If there is something on there that you have and can share, offer it up! If you have something to offer, involve your child in the process of choosing a recipient. Sending a picture to your neighbor of your family using the object is a simple way to show how much you appreciate their gift. 

Express Gratitude for Everyday Things  

Let your children hear you express thanks for things you do everyday. Thank the cashier for their hard work, thank the delivery people who bring mail and packages by leaving notes on your door. Thank each other for little things–preparing breakfast, taking out the garbage, putting away laundry. It may seem silly to thank someone for putting away their shoes, but it shows that you noticed their act and are appreciative. The more children hear words of gratitude, the more they instill those feelings and become people who care about other people.  

Child's hands holding a small package wrapped in brown paper, with a colored-in red heart, secured with a twine bow.

Incorporating daily moments of gratitude into your everyday life and finding opportunities to give more than you receive might not completely eradicate The Wants, but by putting such strategies into practice, your child will continue to form positive relationships with the importance of thinking of others. Together, we can tackle THE WANTS!

About Sweta

Sweta has extensive experience in Early Learning Centers including leadership positions. She also has provided educator training and coaching for Early Childhood Educators in a variety of contexts including helping scientists engage children in STEM topics.

“I am beyond thrilled to part of a team of creative, passionate, and responsive professionals who fully believe in the power of play,” shared Sweta. “I am eager to implement DCM’s philosophy of joyful discovery and learning to directly strengthen family connections and build lasting relationships in the community.”