Need It or Want It?

Help children understand the difference between needs and wants.

What’s the difference between buying something you want and buying something you really need? Young children may not know yet. It’s helpful to point out the difference between needs and wants when making choices. 

  • Explain the things that people need. (“All of us need nutritious food, water, shelter, and clothing. These are things that keep us healthy and safe.”) 
  • Then explain the things that people want. (“Sometimes we want to buy an extra thing, like a new toy or special snack. Those extras are not as important as the things we need. It’s OK if we have to wait to get them, or choose not to get them at all.”)