Many items that kids ask for are things they want, not things they need. While your child does need food and clothing, that doesn't mean he should have a cookie or an expensive pair of shoes. Young kids are still learning the difference between "wants" and "needs" at school, and you'll probably have your share of discussion at home, too. To help make the differences clear, have your child make a poster of things that he "wants" and "needs."
First, help your child draw a line down the middle of a poster board.
On one side, have your child write "Wants" at the top of the poster, and on the other side have him write "Needs."
Ask your child about something he wants and why he wants it. Next, ask your child about something he needs. If he's having trouble coming up with the correct answer, ask questions that will guide him to answers about clothing, water, food, toys, and shelter.
Then go over the differences of a want and a need. Tell them that a "need" is something we must have in order to survive, like food, water, clothing, and shelter. Stress that to meet our needs, all we have to get is the most basic of things. Then explain that a "want" is something that we can live without, even though we may have a strong desire for it.
After you're finished going over the differences, go through some magazines together and cut out about 15 to 20 pictures of both wants and needs. Try to get different types of magazines, like clothing catalogs, food magazines, etc.
When all the pictures are cut out, have your child pick a picture from the pile and tell you if it's something he needs or something he wants. Talk about his answer and then have him glue the picture onto the correct side of the board.
Once all of the pictures have been glued down, hang the picture in the house so that the next time your child wants something, like a new toy, talk about whether the item is a want or a need and ask your child which column of the poster the item would go under.