Teaching Our Children To Be Happy With Less

living with less

As I sit here writing this, my two boys are on ebay looking at football cards. Clearly, it wasn’t the smartest of ideas downloading the ebay app for the ipad! A minute ago they were playing educational maths games – now they are begging me to buy them things with “Look mum, it’s only $1!”

When I realised my 4 and 6 year old children knew how to use ebay I was horrified because they didn’t teach themselves – they learnt it from me. It probably came from standing behind me while they patiently (?) waited for me to finish my all important quest for a shopping bargain a few too many times.

I recently read this short post about not giving in to the “I wants.” The post from Tricia at litte eco footprints made the powerful statement that she wants her daughter to know that happiness is something she can create. It’s not something she can buy.

I agree wholeheartedly with her post. I agree that it is unwise to give into a child’s every want as it does very little but spoil them and teach them how to be materialistic consumers.

Having said this, I know I’m not a perfect example for my children to follow.

It’s all well and good to say we don’t want to give in to our child’s every ‘want’ but what about ourselves? How often do we say no to the things we convince ourselves we just HAVE to have. How often do our children see us saying no compared to how often they hear us discussing all the things we NEED like a new couch, new clothes, an ipad or a new phone? Do we actually know the difference between a need and a want or the lines get blurred sometimes?

We need to reflect the values we want to instill in our children. We can’t just tell them what we want them to do, think or feel we actually have to show them by the way we live our own lives.

As parents, we need to get this right. We need to avoid the shops, avoid wasting money on impulse purchases and show our children that we don’t need possessions to be happy. We can show them that anyone can be happy with little even if clever marketing and advertising tells us otherwise.


How do you show your children how to be happy with less?

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