A Tree Grows

Read The Story

Activities and Discussions

Rodrigo’s Jersey.

Teaching children to separate who they are from what they have can be a challenge in our media saturated, consumer oriented society.

Two and three year olds

Two and three year olds are attracted to material things because they look pretty or because they want to play with them. They can be especially vulnerable to the candy aisle in the supermarket or to commercials.  They may, however, have very little understanding of why they can’t have everything they want.

What you can do

You model your values to your children. If you speak in an admiring tone of a neighbor who acquired a new car, item of clothing, etc., your children will pick up on that. Practice saying ‘no’ to unreasonable requests. It’s your decision as a parent to not give in to all of your children’s demands.

Four and five year olds

Four and five year olds are more exposed to other children and the media, and have more definite ideas of what they think they need or want. They still have a fairly black and white view of the world, and don’t understand complex concepts well.

What you can do

Try to explain to your children that their friend or neighbor may be lucky to have something. It doesn’t mean that if they don’t have this same toy, for instance, that they are any less of a person.  In simple terms, explain to children that people like them because of who they are, not because of what they wear or have. Likewise, when your child wants something that is not in your budget or that you consider not necessary, simply explain that at this time this item is not a choice.

Six and seven year olds

Six and seven year olds are more prone to peer pressure because they are more often in in social settings than their younger siblings.  They are beginning to have their own ideas, independent of your values.  They are also beginning to verbalize their feelings and desires.

What you can do

Six and seven year olds like to imitate one another. Though much can be learned from imitation, this is an age where you can try to have your children play with other children whose parents share similar ideas as yours.  Your conversations with your child are important, no matter who their playmates are. Emphasize through reading the Rodrigo story and other similar stories that your child is special, and that it’s ok to have one’s own ideas. Others will like them for who they are. Praise your child for the person he or she is, for the acts of kindness he or she performs, for their fairness, when they share, etc. These positive reinforcements go a long way in encouraging your child to make good choices.

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