Stimulation Overload

Survival of the fittest over here!

Next year, I may need to say “No” to a few Christmas Parties involving children because after this weekend, I have a child who now thinks Christmas happens every day.

She is very young and so this is not a surprise, but still, I feel I need to fix this somehow.

I actually tried during Dinner tonight; I told my 3 year old about the kids who don’t get presents because Santa can’t make it to their house. I was trying to teach her about Giving vs. Receiving but it didn’t go so well.

She bawled her eyes out when I suggested we collect some of the toys she has outgrown and we donate them to kids. She just isn’t old enough to understand this yet but it’s never too early to try.

We collected some books, dolls and toys she hardly plays with and wouldn’t notice their absence anyway.

She was busy playing with her new toys as we shoved stuff in garbage bags.

For my daughters birthday we asked for donations in lieu of presents. We wanted to donate in her name to the SPCA and a Shelter. This was a huge hit for her 1st and 3rd birthday parties. We didn’t have a party for her 2nd birthday because I was newly pregnant and really sick with all day nausea.

There is a Woman’s Shelter a few kilometres from our neighbourhood in one of the poorest, roughest spots in my City. I like to donate to them as much as possible; I recently did this with some Christmas decorations, diapers and formula.

One of the women living there with her daughter came outside to thank me and gave me a big hug. This felt better than receiving any gift and I sometimes wish I could do more than just donate impulse buys, excess stuff and things we don’t need/want.

I’ve been noticing since the holidays began; She has come down with a case of the “Gimmies:”

Am I getting a present to open today?”

“I want that, I want this!”

We (who is we, no idea!) need to get this!” – After seeing a commercial or something in a store.

A classic book covers the Gimmies; it is a must read for all children/parent:

I read it when I was a child and I loved it. My daughter actually loves this series too which makes me so happy. Thankfully, she loves to listen to books and that hasn’t fallen prey to IPads, phones, TV – yet.

Although I’ve noticed around me a few things: kids need constant stimulation these days. They cannot sit still.

Case in point: there were a few kids at the Christmas parties we went to who could’ve jumped in a bouncy castle, make some Christmas crafts, socialize, etc. yet several were sitting with their parents at the table, watching videos or playing games with an Ipad or their own phones (WTF?!) while their parents twiddled on their own devices.

At both parties, there were magicians putting on a show and although most kids participated, many did not. A lot of the kids couldn’t sit still for very long; constantly looking for the next source of entertainment.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve used a phone to pacify my child more than once.

It’s like a last resort type thing though now. We used to let her use it whenever she asked for like 30 minutes each time, thinking we were brilliant. We could keep her quiet when necessary but maintain a limit so she wouldn’t go nuts.

We were so wrong. She literally became addicted to YouTube and would flick through videos like a crazy person with this weird look on her face. When we’d ask for our phones back, she would flip out.

Our choices were black and white: we decided to do a full month of technology detox. That worked wonders and she hardly asks now until she sees a kid on a device. I’m sure this will become a challenge as she grows up.

Back to the Weekend….

One of the parties we went to, was one I had gone to as a child; every single year. This was “back in the day” when families usually had just one or two Christmas parties to attend.

As a kid, I looked forward to this party every Christmas. As I grew up and clearly outgrew Santa Claus, I began volunteering for the event. I dressed up as an Elf one year to help Santa give out gifts. I even dressed up in a Rudolph costume one time! I loved the sense of responsibility.

When my Grandpa asked me to bring my kids, I was excited because I hadn’t been to one of these parties in 20 years probably. So when I walked in; it was like a time warp. Gone were the cute little elves and Rudolph costumes. I guess they didn’t have any tween volunteers.

I started remembering the people, the memories of Christmas parties past, the atmosphere of excitement while waiting for Santa.

Back then, we entertained ourselves. We made new friends for a day, we hung out with our grandparents and parents. There was always a magic show which everyone loved and dancing to Christmas music. The hall would be packed with families and the parties would last for hours.

Today, I was looking forward to this so I could share it with my kids because after all, any happy experience you had as a child, you usually want your own kids to have one as well.

Everything has changed and I don’t like it.

The party today was much smaller, the kids were great but it wasn’t like it used to be. The party was smaller, didn’t have the same vibe of excitement and that stung my heart.

I’m not saying it’s because of technology but the times have for sure changed. The simplicity of entertainment for our kids has changed and it terrifies me.

What I ultimately want to teach my kids is that giving is better than receiving, you don’t need your phone to be happy and you can enjoy vicariously dull moments.

I have already completed Christmas shopping for my daughters but I decided today I am going to return a few things. They really don’t need any more toys and we haven’t even had Christmas yet. Of course, I know they will be spoiled by their families even though I’ve asked for everyone to scale it back.

I’m hoping next year we can do a Secret Santa or something similar. I want traditions to mean something to my girls, not gifts per se. Ultimately when they are old enough, I’ll consider doing something extremely hands on like volunteering somewhere or making shoeboxes filled with Needs vs. Wants.

Going back to the days of the Great Depression for example:

If you listen to Christmas music; you may realize that historically, songs preached morals and values without people actually realizing it:

Comfort and Joy….

Silent Night….

Peace on Earth….

Not: “Go into debt so my kid can have ten things to open under the tree”

Or “My kid is an ungrateful, spoiled brat…”

I do not want that for my girls and I don’t think any parent really does either but how aware are we?

How do we stop it from actually happening?

I’d love to hear from my readers what they do to minimize the consumption overload we experience during the holidays.

If anyone has any advice on how they raise a child to be grateful, happy and content without spoiling them rotten, I’d love to hear from you too!

14 thoughts on “Stimulation Overload

  1. Mandi Em says:

    I think our family needs a tech detox as well! It can be hard to raise kids who are grateful in a consumer culture like we’ve got. I live in a small space and prefer when people give my kids credit at the rec center for lessons or something rather than more plastic crap that they will probably break or get bored of. Good for you for trying to tech them that there is more than just gifts!

    Liked by 2 people

    • mommythebanker says:

      Thanks for your reply because I really would like to know what other parents do. Activities at the rec Centre are great! I did lots of those as a kid and now have my daughter in gymnastics at one. As for the ipads, we had to do a detox but once we did, she was fine. Just can’t give back the phone lol


  2. DGGYST says:

    oooh it’s weird that this is a thing! Spoiling kids with too much excitement lol I saw a gigapet in a thrift store the other day, and I remember how much it entertained me and how it would not be stimulating to any one any more. Brains, man.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mommythebanker says:

      Thanks 🙂 I will for sure share this. Im happy to hear you share my feelings. As a Banker, I’ve literally watched people kill themsleves financially to give their kids the best of everything. It has to stop. We need to focus on the important things in life – mental health in ourselves and our kids for one!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mommythebanker says:

        It needs to happen some time soon. Our children are not even being taught how to write their own names in school. At least in Canada, they have eliminated cursive writing! I am terrified for our kids and when my oldest uses the IPad (very rAre now) she turns into a monster!


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