It happens almost every time you’re in the store. Your child sees something they want from the opposite end of the aisle with their telescopic vision and proceeds with laser-like intensity to its exact location. Eyes wide and drool dripping, they point to the object and exclaim “I want it!” in a voice so shrill you’re not sure if they’re possessed. You eventually do find out as you say no and they emit a wail of anguish so loud the clerks at the customer service desk call the police. In order to prevent your child from shattering the nearby glassware, you pull the item off the shelf, shove it into their hands, and rush away so no one you know sees you.
A good deal of money is wasted on items grabbed due to the Gimmes and the I Wants, but it doesn’t have to be this way. With some simple suggestions you can turn it around so the reaction to your response isn’t so ear-piercing. In addition, your child learns a bit about money management.
Say no with a question. At the moment your child demands you buy them something, you turn around and ask them why they need it. This sometimes gives them pause in order to come up with an answer. And when they do, you can discuss whether or not it’s a valid answer, like they need it to replace something their sibling broke, or invalid, like they want it ‘because’. The discussion may result in a temper tantrum, but at least you curb your urge to take the item out of the store.
Work on an incentive program. Provide them with a positive answer, then attach a quest to obtain it at a later date. For instance, agree to purchase the action figure if your child completes their chores for one week without complaining. You can also do this with a ticket system. Place values on a roll of movie or raffle tickets you buy at the office supply store and present a certain number of them to your child for all completed tasks. They can pick up the object when they reach the desired amount of tickets or they can save up for something else.
Start a savings account. You’ll have to be the co-signer if your child is under a certain age, but starting a savings account with them can do wonders in the way they handle themselves in the future. Start them off with an initial deposit and set up a price schedule for completed tasks. Just like allowance or a salary, they receive the amount of money they worked for at the end of a predetermined time period. You could even do something where they receive some type of pay stub while you perform a direct deposit into the account. Watch their eyes grow wide as the account’s balance gets larger with their money plus anything gotten for birthdays and other celebrations.