Tackling the grocery store with small children in tow can be a challenge. With so many choices, bright colors, and unhealthy temptations, kids can quickly fall into the “I want it all” mentality.
I remember the days of “Can we buy this, Mommy?” very well. Some days I’d absolutely dread going into the store because I knew I’d be bombarded with all sorts of requests.
Cheetos! Apple Jacks! Fruit Snacks! Goldfish!
“Can we buy this, Mommy?”
And I’d have to play the “bad guy” all the way through the store.
“No! No! No! No!”
The whole scenario made me tired.
What my daughters needed was a little incentive to stop asking me for everything in sight, so finally I got proactive about grocery shopping.
Before we went into the store, I told the girls that I would buy them one small treat (usually a box of animal crackers—their favorite) if they promised to NOT ask me for anything while I was shopping. But if they did ask me for something before we got to the checkout, our deal was off. No treat.
Sure, it was sometimes difficult to not give in and buy something for the child who asked for Oreos while strolling down the cookie aisle. (Those things ARE tempting!) And it was even tougher to reward one child but not another.
But our shopping deal served two important purposes.
First, it brought a much more peaceful and relaxed grocery shopping experience—something we all needed. No more begging. No more playing “bad cop.” No more negotiating. They either kept their end of the bargain or they didn’t.
Second, and probably more importantly, it gave my children a chance to practice self-control, which is so important for young children. Let’s face it, temptations abound in the grocery store, but that doesn’t mean kids should beg for everything in sight. And later, as teens and young adults who are learning how to spend their own money, self-control is even more important.
Want to stop the grocery store wars? Why not try this tip? Your shopping experience might become a little more peaceful and your children might learn a little self-control while they’re at it.