"I've reached the point where I don't want to
take my child into a store. It doesn't matter if we're in a toy
store, the grocery store, or the gas station - my kid finds something
he "must" have. He usually starts out with a gentle plea,
moves up to an annoying whine, and eventually works himself up to
frantic begging and pleading. I HAVE to get my holiday shopping done! Help!"
Think about it: It's a simple equation. Take
lots of exciting TV commercials, add a peek at a friend's prized
possessions. Multiply the result by attractive store displays.
Sprinkle liberally with a child's natural desires and the result is:
THE GIMMEES. It's a hard lesson, but kids can learn to enjoy viewing
the finer things in life without demanding that they have a piece of
every pie they see.
Give the shopping list of the day: Let your
child know in advance what you will or will not be buying that day.
For example, "We're going to the mall to buy gifts for Nathan
and Julia. We may get socks as well, but that's all we'll be
purchasing for ourselves today." When your child makes a request
for a sweatshirt, simply remind him, "That's a great shirt, but
remember, we're here to buy gifts today."
Accept their wishes: Acknowledge your child's
desire for nice things, "Wow! That is an amazing game. It looks
like fun." Follow this with a statement of why you'll not be
buying it, without sounding reproving, such as, "We're only
buying groceries today." Or "We're here to buy a gift for
your cousin Oishi today."
Santa's list: Create a "wish list"
for your child and keep it in your wallet. Whenever your child says,
"I want this" make a comment such as, "Do you prefer
the blue one or the rainbow colored one?" Then pull out the list
and add the item saying, "I'll add this to your wish list."
Play pretend: Validate your child's wish for
new things by using a fantasy statement, "Wouldn't it be great
if the owner of this store told us we could fill up our cart with
anything we wanted for free!" What typically ensues is a fun
game of make believe.
Teaching, too: Don't ever say, "We can't
afford it." The message is that if you could you'd buy that
two-hundred-dollar shoes! Instead make a comment that can teach your
child something about making money decisions, such as, "Those
are pretty, but we choose not to spend $200 on a pair of shoes when
we can find ones we like for thirty dollars.