5 THINGS YOUR CHILDREN DON'T NEED
(And might be better off without.)
When our firstborn hadn't yet made her appearance, my husband and I went crib shopping. I knew what I wanted: a white crib. It didn't have to be fancy. But I really wanted it to be white. My wish list was simple.
And then I went into the Babies Deserve Expensive Furniture Store. All of a sudden, we were presented with options we had never dreamed of. Wood cribs that cost a month's salary. Carved. Convertible into youth beds, twin-sized beds, and--for those people who really like to plan ahead--even into full- or queen-sized beds. And on those cribs, the bedding options were endless and almost as expensive.
Children need a safe place to sleep. They do not necessarily need a crib that costs as much as some people's cars. (Spoiler alert: Babies are notoriously hard on cribs. The age they are in the crib is the same age in which they teethe. Just saying.)
I promise you, your 18-year-old will not want to take his crib to college in the new, morphed form of a twin-size bed. Nor will your twenty-eight-year-old want to take it into marriage. (Nor, probably, will his new wife.) But it makes for an awfully good sales spiel. You love that yet-unborn baby, right? So of course you want their baby throne room (nursery) to look like something from a magazine.
You might, but they don't care. It will just be a point of frustration for you when your 6-month-old is teething on his future college furniture. (Not to mention, baby number two usually comes around before baby number 1 is out of the crib, so you probably don't even need it to convert to a toddler bed!)
We settled for a yard-sale find. Metal, with wheels. (I strongly suggest wheels). In white.
2. Name brand clothing.
Yes, your two-year-old will look adorable in Ralph Lauren Polo shirts and Baby Gap chinos. And, yes, people buy name brand clothes because they think they are better quality. Many times, they are. But when your boys are of an age where they put holes in the knees of their brand new pants at recess, you will want to reconsider your options. If you do buy name brand clothes, try to get them on sale or used. That way you can continue to shower love and patience on your child (instead of irritated frustration as you watch your money go down the drain). Also, remember that kids don't care about name brands. Only parents do. If children care, it is often because parents have taught them to care. And when they become teenagers. . . ugh! We reap what we sow.
3. A TV in their room.
Please don't do this to your children! When they are young, they need undisturbed sleep. When they are older, the last thing they need is the temptation. In fact, one of the very best gifts you could give your child is a TV-free childhood.
4. A laptop/cell phone/tablet.
Kids' tablets are being marketed as toys. Kindle sells a Fire for children. Do you really want your children addicted to technology from a young age?
Children these days often don't know how to read books, do puzzles, or play board games because all they do is play games on tablets or watch TV. They are missing out on many of the great aspects of childhood. Give them a violin. Give them piano lessons. Give them art supplies. Give them board games and creativity-sparking toys like Legos and wooden blocks. Take them to the park. Teach them to ride a bike. Teach them skills and creativity. Give them a good start to life. Don't turn them into iPad addicts at a young age.
Why do we do this? I am convinced we sometimes do it out of selfishness. We want them to be preoccupied without any work on our part. Let's love and honor our children more than that.
5. Junk food.
Children need food in their tummies. They do not need a daily dose of fried chicken and Coke. They do not need sugar-coated-chocolate-bomb cereal in the morning. They also do not need to be sedated in church with candy. Children need real, honest-to-goodness, healthy food. They need meals at regular times. They need healthy snacks in between their healthy meals. If you fail at providing this, you will have cranky children. Give your children the gift of health by teaching them to enjoy nutritious food while they are young.
Here are six key questions to ask when making decisions about a purchase for your child:
- Am I doing what is truly best for my child or what I think is best for me?
- Am I making this decision out of pride?
- Am I making this decision out of selfishness?
- Am I making this decision because I don't want my child to throw a fit or feel deprived?
- What am I teaching my children about money when I purchase these things?
- What can I do to give my children genuine life skills while they are still young?
Our mission as mothers is to bring these children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord! Let's live with that mission in mind each day as we make difficult choices like these.