Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The List

I'm not sure who can be credited completely for "The List", my husband or myself, but it is a little thing we've been doing when in stores, especially the toy department, ever since our daughter was old enough to say "I want this".

It was a technique we used with her to get her to be accepting of putting down something she saw and liked and wanted to play with or look at longer,and coming along with us to finish our shopping trip. Until we implemented the list, there was a lot of crying and begging, and not listening when she was looking at things. Not an uncommon sight in a department store.

Like most parents I'm sure, we dreaded the toy section of most stores...until the list.

"What is the list?", you ask.

The list is simply a page in the back of my day planner with the things they like written down on it. When I want them to come along with me and stop looking at something, I simply acknowledge what they like and write it on the list...most of the time it works, and I no longer have to drag my child through the store or confine them to the cart because I'm in fear of them hanging around and refusing to stop looking at something, and making my shopping trip miserable and last 3 times as long as necessary.

Mind you I AM shopping with kids, so they do need reminding sometimes, or they have bad days, or, it does take a bit longer, but the list has been a sanity saver for us many many times.

At one time, I had to keep a physical list, and they had to see it being written down for them to feel like they could leave the thing behind, but now, they show me something, and I say "oh, ya that's very interesting, I can tell you like that very much!" and they'll say something like "ya I really like it, can you put it on the list?" and I'll agree...make a mental note of it, or simply tell my husband, "Ok Daddy, this transformers toy is going on the list" and when he agrees with me, that is all they need to hear , and they are right beside me leaving that isle and going forward continuing on with our shopping.

It makes me feel good that although I have a list that is 25 lines long after a shopping trip, or every 5 steps down an Isle, I'm verbally putting something on the list, I have kids that are relatively compliant and are not screaming or begging for things asking why can't they have them all the time.

We have set a precedent with our kids early in life that we are not wealthy people, in fact down right poor by societies standards, and that everything that gets purchased in our home is a decision not taken lightly and one that is discussed and planned.

They see us go over the grocery ads every week to see what is on sale and what is not, and now my kids can even go through the grocery store with me and ask for something that catches their eye, and all I have to do it say " I'm sorry, that's not on sale this week, but I can put it on the list for you?" and they will most always, go" ohhh ok"... mind you it is not a cheery response, or sometimes my daughter will get mad that the store NEVER has pogos on sale, but they are not flipping out on the floor over fruit loops, or pogos like some other kids I see in the stores.

For a family that shops together out of necessity, the list is a lifesaver. The good thing about it too, is that it teaches our kids that although you might want things, you can't always get them right away, or maybe even ever, and that it is ok to desire things, but not to lament over them. It teaches them to acknowledge the desire for something, but t not let the desire eat them up emotionally and let it consume them. Once it is on the list, it is no longer an issue, or a source of suffering emotionally, over something they can't afford.

It doesn't hurt to let them see your list either. Tonight, I put a pair of dressier winter boots on my list. It would be nice to have some nicer boots then the mucking around boots I have now. I looked at a conservative pair for $14.99 My daughter immediately brought me a "nicer pair" that were $34.99 and I told her they WERE nice, but that I just wanted a relatively ok-nice then the ones I have now- pair for a cheaper price and showed her the price difference. She put them back, and was happy with the answer.

If your a parent who dreads shopping with the kids due to the gimmie gimmie's....try starting a list of your own :)

If you ask me... it's a pretty effective parenting tool.

Let me know how it works for you.

1 comment:

David said...

This post caught my attention earlier, so I am back to respond. Our solution to children begging in the store was to dole out a small allowance. 25 cents per year of age per week. My sister immediately asked if that was kept in a spreadsheet. Now when the kids come asking, the response is "you have money". Of course, my youngest can't save any of it to save his soul. If he can't buy what he wants, he buys something else.