Family Life / Mummy Talk

Raising Non-Materialistic Generous Children

How often do you hear people comment on how lucky the current generation is? They have wonderful, exciting toys, beautiful clothing and literally anything they want blahblahblah… “I played with sticks and stones when I was your age and didn’t have new clothes until they were completely worn through and re-patched a hundred of times.” The rise of technology and cheap manufacturing has meant that it is highly accessible for households and individuals to purchase and replace materialistic possessions with a click or a tap. So…

Are we creating a generation of materialistic monsters?

A joint study from the University of Missouri and The University of Illinois in Chicago showed that there are three parenting approaches that make children more materialistic.

  1. Removing your child’s possession as punishment.
  2. Showing your love for them by buying them presents.
  3. Rewarding your child with a gift when they have accomplished something.

Hands up if you have done any of the above?

Guilty as charged!

Apparently, all of the above three methods will make children use material goods to define whether a person is successful or not, and these sets of values will continue to grow with them. I’ve noticed that #JasperBean repeats more and more that “mummy needs to work so she can buy lorry, buy dinosaur, buy aeroplane” etcetc, and this is entirely my fault. I say these things to try and make him (me?) feel better when I have to leave him at nursery to go to work. It’s almost telling him that if mummy doesn’t work, he won’t get anything. This is not my intention, I know in saying this and doing such actions will have an effect. It’s a quick and easy distraction to get out of a situation that could end up with him crying his little eyes out! But I didn’t know how it could affect him so deeply today and in the future. So this must change! I must change.

Raising Non-Materialistic Generous Children Luke 12:15

So how can we raise non materialistic children?

Researcher Lan Chaplin reminds parents that “It’s OK to want to buy things for your children, but remember to encourage them to be grateful for all the people and things they have in their lives.” She says, “Each time children express gratitude, they become more aware of how fortunate they are, which paves the way for them to be more generous and less materialistic. Spend time with your children and model warmth, gratitude and generosity to help curb materialism.”

4 Easy Steps

I don’t claim to know exactly what to do and this is still a work in progress for me. However, from the above quote and research. I believe the following steps will introduce the idea of what relationships between people and experiences are and how they are a whole lot more meaningful and valuable than the latest gadget or toy money can buy.

  • Be their role model

You and I know this already, but I must reiterate. We need to practice what we preach. If we shop to impress, then our child will follow suit. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. What we do screams louder than anything we say. Having said that, we also need to be very careful with what we say. A harmless comment about the latest smart phone, neighbours new car, fashionable pieces etc and that will give them the impression that these high status items are a must have, because mummy and daddy implies so.

  • Be grateful

We can all be grateful, but I have started to make it a habit for myself and #JasperBean to express what we have been grateful for that day. I know he is a little young to grasp this concept, and it probably wont be until he’s about 6 years+ before he can look outside of “me”. However, just expressing what I am grateful for will pave the way for him to grow in gratitude. Something simple such as being grateful for the lovely weather, food on our table, hugs and kisses and willingness to share and give will hopefully help him develop in a positive way.

  • Reward with time

We as parents can be very busy with work and often, we may compensate for our lack of presence with material goods. However, what my child craves more is physical contact and undivided attention. So I am making that conscious effort to put away my laptop, smart phone, tablet and spend some quality time together down at the local park, museum or somewhere that we’ve never been before. Creating memories and rewarding him with shared experiences is priceless.

  • Teach children to help others

Teaching children to help others will shift their focus from “me” to “them”. This will get them thinking about what the needs of other people are and how they can help. More time thinking of others means less time thinking of themselves and their wants.

If your children are old enough to have their own money, then teach them to look after it. The easiest arrangement I have found, even for myself as an adult is to save a little,spend a little and give a little. By focusing on giving, we are helping our children develop compassion for others and decrease their desire for possession.

Raising Non-Materialistic Generous Children 1 Timothy 6:6-8

What other ways do you teach your children to be less materialistic and more generous?

Thanks for reading and until next time…

Love, MsMamaBean x


University of Missouri-Columbia. “Certain parenting tactics could lead to materialistic attitudes in adulthood.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 December 2014.


27 February 2018 at 3:05 pm

Much food for thought there. Not easy to achieve because there is no doubt our generation takes our kids very seriously, on the one hand, but this can lead to them feeling overly-entitled, if we let them!! All about balance, I suppose — I’ll let you know when I achieve it!!! Lol #DreamTeam

Amanda Maynard
27 February 2018 at 7:47 pm

Great tips! I feel like so many parents use presents as rewards… time is so much more valuable!

27 February 2018 at 10:59 pm

I just love this post and couldn’t agree more. As a mom and a teacher I see children growing up in a completely different way than I did. They have so much, want so much and expect so much. I am going to work on rewarding with time and not punishing by taking away material things. Thank you for these tips and for this reminder.

    2 March 2018 at 10:56 am

    Thank you for reading and getting an insight from a fellow mum that’s also a teacher is invaluable as you can reach out to so many individuals! Thank you for stopping by x

27 February 2018 at 11:24 pm

I agree with most of this. I’d have to say that with me personally getting things taken away didn’t make me more materialistic but taught me that things were just things. What’s more important is doing whatever it is that I needed to do. But that’s just my personal experience. I too hope to raise my son as a non-materialistic man and am like many other parents, figuring it out as we go. Great post I love reading things like this.

    2 March 2018 at 10:58 am

    I agree! It’s definitely all about perspective and individual outlooks, one size doesn’t fit all and we have to tailor ourselves to who we’re faced with. I think we’re all just trying our best to be the best version of ourselves for our children and that’s all we can really do! Thanks for stopping by and commenting! X

28 February 2018 at 2:29 am

This is a great post, and I especially agree with your last point. I feel that growing up, volunteering was one of the best things my parents taught me to do. It fulfilled me in a way things never could. Helping others is really important, and something this world needs more of.

28 February 2018 at 2:29 am

Such great points for an important issue facing newer generations. For all of us regardless of age, gratefullness is so important!

28 February 2018 at 3:14 am

I really like this! I too fear that we are raising a materialistic generation. I like the different suggestions of how else to reward.

28 February 2018 at 3:15 am

This is so important. we live in a society that vanities and possessions are praised. I am glad you are raising awareness about this and encourage volunteering.

28 February 2018 at 4:50 pm

This is such a great article. We have seriously all done the first three things! I love rewarding a child with time instead of objects. Such an awesome outlook 😊

28 February 2018 at 8:09 pm

I am 100% guilty of doing this, so I definitely appreciate this post! It’s something that I didn’t even really realize that I was doing until I read this!

1 March 2018 at 4:15 am

I don’t have kids yet, but I love these pointers. I know adults and kids that are very materialistic and it is a total turn off!

1 March 2018 at 2:05 pm

These are great tips for making sure your kids have the right priorities!!

2 March 2018 at 11:49 am

Great tips. Kids value presence over presents any day of the week. #ThatFridayLinky

2 March 2018 at 1:54 pm

This is soooo good! We don’t haveTV at my house so when we visit friends I hear “I want that” when commercials come on. It comes so natural to always want and want and want. You are right on when you say it starts with the adults. #thatFridaylinky

2 March 2018 at 3:01 pm

I love this post, it’s so important to raise our children this way. Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx

2 March 2018 at 9:56 pm

Good for thought but I guess it will be difficult in today’s society great read Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

3 March 2018 at 4:56 am

I have been thinking a lot about this lately. My husband and I got lazy (well, frustrated with potty training) and lately whenever we go anywhere our daughter gets something: stickers, lollipop, etc. So we’ve been trying to go back and re-focus, and make her more grateful for the things she has. We are having her donate some of her toys to a local organization, and we try to take her with us when we volunteer. Not easy, but I’m hoping every little bit helps. #blogstravaganza

    4 March 2018 at 4:07 pm

    Well done for the initiative and reflection! I’m sure what you’re showing her will help. It is so hard raising little people, but it will all be worth it! X

3 March 2018 at 3:19 pm

Oh no. I’m very guilty of dishing out rewards for accomplishments. I do agree that it’s important to not over do too many toys and latest gadgets. Less is more and I think it helps to teach little ones to have respect for what they do have. There’s a bit of a lost generation of those that treasure their possessions. Thanks for joining us for the #DreamTeam xx

3 March 2018 at 9:44 pm

Fascinating post, has made me think!! Thanks for sharing with the #BloggersBEsts

3 March 2018 at 10:48 pm

Super post. I am also guilty of putting focus on material objects, but I also try to ensure that my children and I make little acts of goodwill throughout each month to remind ourselves that our kindness not only to ourselves but also to each other and to strangers is important too. Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza 🙂

    4 March 2018 at 4:09 pm

    Thank you! I think it’s so important to not just think about the family and friends around us, but like you, also to people we don’t know in the wider community! Thanks for reading! X

7 March 2018 at 7:41 am

So very true. I have done all of these! Sometimes we do reward achievements/ effort with ‘let’s go out for lunch/day out – your choice where’ so perhaps we’ll stick to this option! X

Alex, AlwaysUs.Co
10 March 2018 at 8:35 am

Such a well written article, and absolutely food for thought! We’re trying to budget for memories over materialistic items, in hopes that we raise a well rounded little one 🙂

15 March 2018 at 8:56 am

Making memories will outlast any gadget and provide a lifetime of richness that money cannot buy! Great post! #ThatFridayLinky xo

22 June 2018 at 1:00 pm

I love this post. it is very handy when raising children

Let me know what you think!

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