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Our Expert:
Cheryl Ng, master trainer with Focus on the Family

1. Don’t buy something for your children to assuage your guilt for not spending enough time with them. “Replacing all-important contact time with a material object will affect discipline and the teaching of values,” says Cheryl. “Instead, give enough time to the kids.”

2. Think about how long the item will be in use. “Recognise that kids are going to grow up fast, and the designer furniture and clothes are not going to be useful for long.”

3. If you are buying something expensive, ask yourself if your child can really appreciate the value of the item. “Can he/she appreciate the difference between a matchbox toy car and a limited-edition sports car model?”

4. “The ‘best’ purchases don’t necessarily result in an idyllic childhood. By giving your kids what you didn’t have, are you perhaps not giving them what you had? Like family time and outdoor fun?” asks Cheryl.

This article was originally published in Simply Her October 2012.