Summer holidays – weeks of the children being at home!
I used to find that it was much easier to keep my children happy and amused in the sunny weather – parks, gardens, footballs, and hosepipes, paddling pools and sprinklers usually did the trick. (Unless there was a ban in place of course, in which case delete the last 3 options!)
Rain and thunder brought with them many more demands on the purse – bowling, cinema, indoor play, leisure centres, and the like.
And as the children got through that list of activities, then things became even more expensive!
Just beware of taking the children to your local shopping centre… I have seen frazzled parents and children all over Brent Cross and the Harlequin, and I have no reason to suppose that Westfield, Bluewater, or indeed any shopping centre near to you would be any different.
It’s just so difficult to teach children the value of money, and the difference between “need” and “want”.
I’m sure that every parent has had the experience and knows in advance where I am going with this… You go into a shop, and within seconds the kids spot everything they say they “need” and “must have” – which depending on their age, generally includes Xbox games, another super cool Lego creation, the latest Disney board game, and merchandise relating to whatever is popular on TV at that moment.
Does anyone remember Dale Carnegie and the popular daytime TV programme “Supermarket Sweep”? They really should have a children’s version on CBBC!
However, if you’re like me and believe strongly in teaching kids the importance of the value of money, then here are a few tips to keep those trips a little more manageable for yourself while teaching your child.
Tip 1–Explain the difference between a “want” and a “need” before and during your shopping trip. It is important for children to know that toys and games are not needs but food and clothing are.
Tip 2– Ask your children to talk about a few things that they are grateful for in their lives in the car ride to the shops.
Even if the children to talk about an xbox / Play Station game or transformers, and do not mention either Mum or Dad, that’s still OK. The point of this exercise is simply for them to recognize that they have much and probably “need” very little.
Tip 3–Have them create a list of items they need before entering the shop, and only buy the things that are written down. My children always used to find something else on the shelves that they hadn’t written down but still said they really needed. Nevertheless, if you gave them the opportunity to write down their “needs”, once your child pulls the latest Transformer, Ben Ten, or Disney princess from the shelf, your easy answer can be “sorry, not on the list”.
Tip 4– Make them wait!!
Try to make your children wait a few days before they purchase something. Once they find something they “need”, tell them that if they still want that item a few days from now, perhaps they can buy it on your next outing to that shop. 95% of the time the “need”, which is really a “want”, will go away, and as a bonus, you have started to teach your child delayed gratification.
Tip 5–Get them to help you with your shopping! If they are old enough to go about the store perhaps with a sibling in pairs, give them part of your list and make them responsible for selecting the items off the shelves. (But please don’t be surprised if you see a couple of bars of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, or M&M’s sneaked in at the bottom of the basket!)
Tip 6—Play games while in the store.
Here’s another opportunity to teach your children that things cost real money. As you walk around your Tesco’s or Sainsbury, ask your children to estimate/guess the amount of money that the items you purchase are going to cost.
Tip 7–Have them use their own money to buy what they “need”!
Remember, from your Children’s perspective it is so much easier to waste Mum and Dad’s money than their own!
It can help prevent that age old cry of “everyone else” has one… Who is that “everyone else” anyway? Funnily enough, when challenged, my own children could only occasionally actually name any single person……
I hope that you have found this blog informative and interesting.
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