Shopping with Kids: Easing the Burden

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If you want to work on good money habits, shopping trips can be a great exercise in savings and spending. To promote good behavior during shopping trips, give your child a set dollar amount, say $10, and let them know they can either spend it in that trip, or save it for a later trip to buy something bigger. Don't help out if they go a little over their budget, or they'll start pushing the envelope on future trips. This can be a good lesson on sales tax as well for older children - they'll learn that a $9.99 toy isn't going to be within their budget after tax, but they can save that $10 for next time.

Recharging Your Batteries

If you find yourself reaching your limits - physically or mentally - or observe the same in your kids, it's time for a break. Younger children may need to stop more frequently for snack or bathroom breaks, but even older children and you need a rest once in a while. Try to plan your shopping to include a "rest stop" somewhere in the middle - lunch, a food court, or a park are all good places to relax. Many shopping malls now have small children's play areas where parents can take a break and let their kids run off some energy. Take advantage of this, especially when your kids get tired of being confined to a stroller or holding your hand. If you're getting too frustrated inside a crowded mall, head outside for a bit of fresh air and an escape from the crowds.Remember to know your child's limits (and your own) when planning long shopping trips. With a good plan you can even turn a dreaded list of errands into a fun bonding experience for everyone!