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Benefits of spending equally on childrens' gifts

Benefits of spending equally on childrens' gifts

By Paul Nelson | Posted - Nov. 16, 2010 at 7:08 a.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Many retail businesses across the country are trying to attract shoppers by offering Black Friday deals early. Some child development experts say parents might want to make sure they don't look like they favor one child over the other by spending more on Christmas presents.

For kids around 7 years old and younger, the size of the gift matters.


Older kids will notice if mom spent $25 on one child and $50 on another.

The Children's Center Executive Director Dr. Douglas Goldsmith said, "When it comes to Christmas gifts, parents could run into, with very little children, the idea of, ‘How come Johnny's came in such a big box and I just got a little box?' That could feel unfair to them."

Goldsmith says parents can easily fix any little resentment that comes up.

"When the child is upset because their brother's box is bigger, [parents] can say, ‘Santa got him what he wanted and Santa got you what you wanted,'" he said.

For young kids, present envy isn't a big problem. But with older kids, things are a little different. They'll notice if mom spent $25 on one child and $50 on another.

"It's probably beneficial for parents to keep the amount spent on each kid pretty much the same," Goldsmith advised.

He says the increased cost of Christmas presents is making this problem worse for parents. He says kids are asking for very expensive electronics like iPods, iPads and cell phones. Goldsmith believes parents are spending a lot more for gifts than they would even consider spending not too long ago.

"I'd recommend that parents talk to the older children about, as they make their list, considering a limit on how much money can be spent," he said.

Luckily, the old saying "it's the thought that counts" still holds true. Goldsmith says most kids don't even remember what they got just a few weeks after Christmas. He says the memories of their holiday traditions and memories of what they did with their families are what stick in their minds the most.

E-mail: pnelson@ksl.com

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Paul Nelson

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