Steps for Parents
hundreds of billions of dollars spent each year on advertising,
it's impossible to be immune from commercialism, but there
are steps we can take to protect our families.
Turn off the tube
limits on how much TV your family watches. Also, press
the mute button during commercials or talk with your children
during ads to help them understand the companies' marketing
your child begs for the latest "thing," talk about why
s/he wants the new object before you give in or say no.
Learn to say no, however, and set limits when you need
Teach responsible consumption
your child understand that every product is made from
materials extracted from the Earth, and that material
things don't just disappear when the garbage gets picked
up. Teach your children about what happens to all that
stuff. When we consume lots of plastic, heavily packaged
goods, and products that easily break, we are leaving
a heavy burden for future generations to bear. Seek out
sources of Earth-friendly products that are durable and
made from biodegradable or recycled materials.
Guard your time
a dinner time ritual of getting reconnected and really
paying attention to each other as a family, even if you
can only make it happen once or twice a week. Spend more
time in nature. It helps connect children and adults to
the larger scheme of things and offsets the noise and
rush of daily life. Encourage drawing, singing, building
things, sewing, kids newspaper
clubs, reading, gardening, or sports. Devote the 20 minutes
before bedtime exclusively to your children.
Push for commercial free schools
your child's school have Channel One? If so, ask to watch
a broadcast. Ask the PTA to hold a meeting about commercialism
in the school. Work as a team with teachers and other
parents to analyze how and when commercial messages are
reaching children, whether in textbooks, the cafeteria,
hallways, or through fundraising events. Help develop
a plan to ban commercialism in the schools.
these five steps won't cure all the problems associated
with the commercial targeting of our kids. But it's important
to acknowledge the significant power parents do have to
promote a healthy understanding of money, spending, and
the effect of commercialism with their children.
Center for a New American Dream is sponsoring a national
"Kids and Commercialism Campaign." For more information,
Ave. Suite 900
or check out their website at www.newdream.org
© 1990-2005, More Than Money, All rights reserved