The Checkout Counter Meltdown

Main Message

Do your young children use checkout line meltdowns to get their goodies? Here’s a prior-planning strategy to turn a trip to the store into a Money Moment™

A frazzled mom in the grocery checkout line was trying to ignore pleas from two young children. As the volume got louder, the embarrassed mom relented and tossed candy on the counter. “Fine, now be quiet,” she said.

All parents have experienced it. You are heading toward the checkout counter and your kids are antsy. What will happen next?

All parents have experienced it. You are heading toward the checkout counter and your kids are antsy. What will happen next?

What did the kids learn? Scream long enough and Mom will eventually give in, right? Most parents have experienced a similar plight – I sure have.

Fortunately, a parent can turn a trip to the store into a positive Money Moment™ . But preparation is important. It starts by setting the ground rules with the child before entering a store.

1) Know what expected outcome you want. Good behavior? No screaming?

2) Establish and explain how you will reward success. You decide (or negotiate) the reward. Perhaps it’s a piece of candy? Or perhaps you let the child choose the breakfast cereal or flavor of ice cream.

3) If the child breaks the rules, stick to your guns. No rewards!

Depending on the age of the child, you might be able involve them in making the shopping list and looking for discounts/coupons in newspapers, etc. Perhaps you can share the savings? Children old enough to run a calculator can help you determine the best deals per unit.

The point is to engage the kids in the shopping activity and reward them for good behaviors, not caving in to tantrums. With prior planning and clear communications, you can turn checkout counter meltdowns into a Money Moment™.

Money MomentIt’s important to set expectations on behavior prior to arriving at the store. Will you reward good behavior? Will you provide a spending budget for a child? Will you allow them input on some items, such as cereal or cookies?

 

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About Chuck

Chuck is a publisher of financial education materials, an entrepreneur, and journalist.
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