Do I Give My Child Too Many Gifts?

Many children receive too many presents as a way to compensate for their parent's busy lifestyles that leave them little time to spend with their children. Try spending more quality time with your children instead of spoiling them.
Do I Give My Child Too Many Gifts?

Last update: 20 January, 2020

As parents, we can sometimes think that a new toy can replace spending time with our children. If this is a common occurrence, it can result in a child becoming spoiled. Keep reading to learn more about how to avoid giving your child too many gifts and the consequences that over-gifting can have on a child.

Gifts Versus Quality Time Together

The love you have for your child is obviously enormous, and that can sometimes lead us to think that our child deserves all the toys in the world. However, the best gift your child can receive is spending quality time with you. 

If you are very busy and don’t have a lot of time to spend with your child, it’s probably more likely that you may end up spoiling him or her. The most common way to tell if your child is spoiled is if your child always asks for a new toy every time you go to the store.

Does this sound like you? Do you spoil your children?

Spoiled children is nothing new, and it has only become more common during the 21st century. Even if you’re very busy, however, it’s best to be organized and set aside time to spend with your child. This is the best way to avoid raising a spoiled child and truly help your child mature.

What Exactly Does the World “Spoiled” Mean?

Giving too many gifts.

“Spoiling” refers to the over-indulgence of children. It can be characterized by an excess of toys or gifts given frequently to a child. Spoiled children also realize early on that they can have anything they want and know how to manipulate their parents to give them what they want.

However, being spoiled can also be a sign of not enough quality time spent with their parents. Believe it or not, most children would prefer spending time with their parents over a new toy or a gift. Most of the time, spoiled children are easy to spot because they constantly complain.

However, there’s nothing to worry about! You can fix this easily by always setting standards or goals for receiving gifts. For example, a new toy can be given if your child receives good grades.

How Do I Know if My Child is Spoiled?

While a common sign of a spoiled child is the excessive demand for presents or toys, there are several other signs, including:

  • Low tolerance or frustration,
  • Poor imagination,
  • Overly fickle or fussy,
  • Your child is materialistic and consumerist,
  • Selfishness.

Of course, children are also influenced by their friends and classmates. If a classmate or friend receives a new toy, your child will also probably want it.

To deal with this situation, it’s best to establish that each family is different and apply some rules for gift giving. 

The Consequences of Having Too Many Toys

Being spoiled can have consequences for your child, as well as those around them. Some of these consequences include:

  • Unnecessary financial expenses,
  • Isolation from parents,
  • Difficulty with self expression both in the long and short term,
  • Possible development of personality complexes,
  • Intolerance and frustration,
  • Little or no recognition of the value of people and things.

What Can Parents Do to Fix Excessive Gift Giving?

Spend quality time with your children.

Our job as parents is to help our children learn and grow in a healthy environment. Therefore, it’s important to spend time with your child every day doing different activities or playing games. This will help your child realize that the best gift is quality time with people.

Another good idea is to surprise your child with outings to his or her favorite restaurant or park.

Teach the importance of value.

The best way for children to value every gift you give them is helping them understand how you were able to buy it. When they understand that you work to be able to buy gifts and how much every toy costs, they will start to see gifts differently.

This will not only encourage them to find a job when they are older, but it will also help them become more mature.

You may also be interested in: Teach your Children How to Save Money

Teach them the rule of four.

Another tip is to use the rule of four for gift giving. This consists of giving gifts according to these four categories:

  • Something they can wear or carry,
  • A book,
  • Something that they really want,
  • Something that they need.

For example, a scooter that they can take with them, a new book in their favorite genre, markers that they need for a painting or project, and something that your child has been asking for for months would all fit this rule. This will also help prevent an accumulations of toys that children stop playing with only weeks after receiving. 

Help them learn to play without toys.

Giving too many gifts

The best gift for your child is companionship! Dedicating just an hour a day to playtime together can help avoid having a spoiled child and can improve your family relationship.

When you’re really busy, you can invite your child to sit next to you and sing, read, or paint. These activities don’t require any toys, and if you require silence, reading and painting are good options.

Remember that the greatest gift is love.

As Van Gogh once said, “What’s done in love is well done!”

Even if you have a lot of work, make sure to dedicate time to listening to, talking with and playing with your child. This is also a good way for you both to relax and become comfortable telling each other everything.


You can avoid raising a spoiled child by spending more time with him or her. You can do activities together at home or go to the movie theater or park. Even when you’re bogged down with work, it is important to remember to spend time with your child daily.

Hopefully, this article has helped you reflect. Start giving more value to time spent with loved ones rather than to material goods. In order for your child to learn this from you, you need to put this into practice and teach your child through your own actions.

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  • Killian, G. A. (2016). Successful Parenting: The Greatest Gift to Give Your Child. AuthorHouse.
  • Blanco, P. J., & SHEELY‐MOORE, A. I. (2012). Gift giving and receiving in child‐centered play therapy: An ethical response. The Journal of Humanistic Counseling, 51(1), 66-77.