From Consumption to Contribution

Doing Good Newsletter


Advertising to children is big business, amounting to more than $15 billion annually. The average child sees 100 commercials a day. As a result, we are seeing unhealthy diets (due in part to all the fast-food ads), less time spent outside or doing art, increased anxiety and depression, and a disturbing sense of entitlement and greed. As helpless as parents may feel, we can counter this well-funded onslaught with the ideas listed here.

From the staff and board of Doing Good Together, we wish you the happiest of holidays.

- Jenny Friedman, Executive Director


Make a Difference.....

These tips can help deemphasize the messages of consumerism in our culture and instead put more emphasis on family, friendship and doing for others.

  • Teach your children to be smart consumers. Show them how to compare items, examine labels, look for sales and notice quality so they can make their own buying decisions.

  • Limit exposure to advertising. Record the TV shows you like and fast forward through the ads, watch pre-recorded movies and commercial-free television, and limit screen time. (Be aware of online advertising as well.)

  • Designate one month of 2013 as Help the Hungry Month. This simple project sparks conversations about need, want and making a difference for others.

  • Check  out our list of Make Giving Back a Part of your Holidays. Then visit Big Hearted Families to find other simple, easy projects that can spark the spirit of giving all year long.


Talk About It.....

  • Watch the clever and entertaining "Loop Scoops" together and have a conversation about "stuff." Start with the video titled "Happiness."

  • What if you made a New Year's resolution to begin a family tradition of giving and serving? We have some printouts to get you started.

  • Examine media together and educate your children about how to think critically about advertising. For tips specific to your children's ages, visit Parent Further, the parent resource from the Search Institute. 

  • Also check out Admongo, a kid-friendly website that educates
    children about advertising, and the PBS website "Don't Buy It," especially the sections "Buying Smart" and "What You Can Do."

  • Look around at all that you own. Then talk about the difference between wants and needs. Categorize each item as a "want" or a "need."

Learn About It.....

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback (Viking, 1999). Ages 5 and up. When Joseph's coat got too old and shabby, he made it into a jacket. When that wore out, he changed it again - and again.This beautiful book illustrates resourcefulness and gratitude and lends itself to conversations about doing your best with what you have. 


"It is the preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly."
- Bertrand Russell, British philosopher, mathematician, historian and social critic