It’s hard to wake up every day and let my kids play video games as much as they want. I feel scared, like they will look back on their childhood and think it was full of missed opportunity or dull repetition. I have to spent hours reading about the benefits of video games and the importance of child-directed learning.
But any time the kids show any interest in something that is not video games, I’m all over it.
We live on a farm, two hours from shopping that is not even worth driving two hours for, so we buy everything online. The UPS truck comes pretty much every day. And the FedEx truck. We get deliveries from both every day. (You might think it’s extreme, but we buy everything that is not meat, fruit or vegetables online as well. Did you know Amazon doesn’t charge me for shipping when I buy just one can of salmon? It’s amazing.)
So I buy the kids anything they want. Pretty much all the time. The only thing I have said no to that I can even remember is Pokemon card packs because I think it’s gambling. (You never know what you’ll get and sometimes the kids are disappointed.) This means that we don’t need eight days of presents on Hanukkah. Every day is Hanukkah here.
I bought them small gifts. I got my older son fossilized dinosaur poop. I got my younger son clothes at Abercrombie & Fitch. He fits into extra-small girls clothes but feels like he’s dressed like he’s the sixth member of One Direction.) They were happy. And they did not expect very much on Hanukkah.
I think I’ve taught them to have relatively low expectations on holidays and relatively high expectations for every day. They don’t expect gifts. They expect to be able to buy whatever they want, and to spend a lot of time and energy exploring.