Newswise — STRATFORD, NJ – Even children who watch limited amounts of television can’t avoid seeing dozens of ads that captivate them to ask for the latest toy, game or gadget. This can put parents in the unenviable position of trying to balance the realities of budgets with their desire to not disappoint their children on Christmas morning. 

“At this time of year, kids naturally get excited about toys or other gifts they are hoping for,” said Rowan Family Medicine physician Dr. Jennifer Caudle. “But this is a good time to remind them that there are others who are not as fortunate and that giving gifts is just as important – if not more so – as receiving them.” 

Still, if your children have trouble actually limiting their wish list, Dr. Caudle suggests that asking them why they want a particular toy can help them to realize that some toys really don’t matter all that much to them. 

And, despite the legend of Santa’s ‘naughty and nice list,’ Dr. Caudle advises parents to avoid the notion that the holidays are a sort of grand bargain that exchanges good behavior for elaborate gifts. 

“If parents are unable to keep their end of the ‘bargain’ they could be setting their children up for significant disappointment,” Dr. Caudle said. 

Making a tradition of charity 

Dr. Caudle believes that the holidays are a good time to teach children about the importance of charitable behavior. 

“Children of all ages can understand the need to help those who are less fortunate, not only during the holidays, but throughout the year,” Dr. Caudle said. “Parents can share this message by allowing children to pick a cause the family will support or by encouraging them to routinely set aside a small portion of any allowance to donate to a charity of their choice.” 

Beyond all else, Dr. Caudle wants parents to be good role models during the season of gifts. 

“Always express sincere gratitude for any gift and demonstrate that the best gift of the holiday season is the opportunity to spend time with your family and friends,” she said. 

About Rowan University

Rowan University is a Carnegie-classified doctoral research institution dedicated to excellence in undergraduate education. It offers bachelor’s through doctoral programs to 18,500 students through its campuses in Glassboro, Camden and Stratford, New Jersey. Home to Cooper Medical School of Rowan University and the School of Osteopathic Medicine, it is only the second university in the nation to grant both M.D. and D.O. medical degrees. In addition, Rowan comprises the William G. Rohrer College of Business; the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering; the colleges of Communication & Creative Arts; Education; Humanities & Social Sciences; Performing Arts; and Science & Mathematics; the School of Health Professions; the School of Earth & Environment and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Rowan is collaborating with regional leaders to create research and academic programs in health sciences. It has earned national recognition for innovation, commitment to high-quality, affordable education and developing public-private partnerships.