If you are heading out to the shops later today with your young kids in tow, hold up right there! We’re about to make your life a whole lot easier with one simple phrase: “Do you want to take a picture with it?”
But before we get there, let’s stop and commiserate for a moment.
Going to the shops with young children can be difficult, with a capital D. It starts with wrangling them into their shoes, then their coats, then their car seats. All of this wrangling is then followed by immediate requests for snacks or the potty. It’s enough to make you say “forget it, maybe I’ll just see if I can make my own milk out of these almonds I found in the back of the cabinet.”
However, perhaps the biggest challenge for many parents with young kids venturing out into the wild blue yonder that is any place where they sell things is managing the constant stream of requests for items not on your list.
You know how it goes? “Oh Mum! Look at that! Can get we get this…”
Cereal made with 100% marshmallows? No, we don’t need that.
That shiny new toy that looks exactly like the other toy you have at home? No, we don’t need that.
A drum set with accompanying amplifier? No, we definitely do not need that.
Of course you can just say no. You’re the parent, it’s your prerogative. Plus, kids need to learn how to deal with no because well, that’s life.
But there is certainly a learning curve for dealing with “no” which can result in some pretty epic aisle 4 meltdowns and a mommy migraine. So why not try saying no, but with a twist that will help relieve some of the tension for everyone involved.
The next time your child asks for something in the store that you do not need or plan to buy that day, say this:
“No, a singing donkey toy isn’t on our list today. But do you want to take a picture with it so we can think about it for another time?”
And then you whip out your phone which may or may not contain said “list” and actually take a picture of your child holding the item they so deeply need.
Here’s why this strategy works.
- You still get to say no, which is good for your wallet and for your kids. Money doesn’t grow on trees, and you really don’t need that singing donkey toy today.
- You are explaining why that item is not getting popped into the cart which gives some more context to the child who has little to no concept of money at this stage.
- Your kid gets to hang onto the much beloved 4000 piece LEGO set/ baby doll with a lifelike poopy diaper/ package of permanent markers for another moment and smile with their find.
- Chances are, your kid is going to forget about that item in about five minutes. But just in case they have elephant like memories and it’s something you might actually want to buy in the future for a birthday gift, you have camera roll evidence on your phone.
- Notice you did not promise anything. You said “take a picture so we can think about it for another time.” Kids latch on tight to the words “maybe” and “next time”; avoid at all costs!
Now of course every kid is different. And of course there are some items your kid is going to be whining for that you will not be taking a picture with. For example, we would not recommend snapping a picture of your child next to a case of adult beverages or the lingerie that was restocked in the wrong section of the store. However, this parenting hack will definitely come in handy for things like:
- Shirts not currently available in their size
- The kiwi you know they won’t eat
- Supersized bags of chocolate chips
- The parrot at the pet store
- A bike they don’t know how to ride yet
- The toy they saw on the store shelf that you actually already bought them for their birthday and have hidden in the closet at home.
- A magazine devoted to luxury automobiles that they think looks “SO COOL.”
- All the cuddly toys
I bet you can think of a few more too. Or if you can’t, I’m sure your child be happy to make some suggestions at the store later today.
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