Grocery shopping with pre-schoolers can sometimes be a challenge, especially if you're shopping with more than one. I found a strategy that makes the experience easier for both the little ones and me.
When we arrive at the store, I give each one several pieces of play money which they may spend when the shopping is done. The catch is this: each time they have to be reminded of any unacceptable behavior, they lose a piece of the money.
As teenagers, your children will continue to expect to be rewarded with money for good behaviour. This doesn't stop even when they become adults.
funny i learned to behave with no rewards. i behaved because it was expected of me
I have always felt that kids just don't understand the whole grocery shopping experience. They go there, spend all that time shopping, and then get nothing, while mom gets all those nice groceries. I think it is a good idea to reward good behavior, and the play money is a good visual reminder. Also, I think children should be encouraged to help with the job -- picking out the flavor of cereal that they want, the shape of the pasta that you will buy, the flavor of canned bean, are we going to get apples or oranges this week, etc. If they feel that the purchases are theirs as well as mom's, they will be far less troublesome. Of course, it goes without saying that they should not be hungry or tired when you take them grocery shopping. Consider the whole experience a life lesson, and be sure to continue to take them with you when they get to be big enough to be a help with the job. My 19 year old son does the shopping with me -- discussing the purchases, loading the cart, unloading the cart, carrying and packing the car and unloading at the house. He's done this for years. As a result, he knows how to shop for groceries and could do the job for me if I needed him to. We enjoy the outing together.
Children need to know if they break the law (your rules are the law) it is bad behavior but they lose more than a reward, they will gain punishment. Do not set your children up for failure. Rewards come with exceptional behavior not with expected behavior. For instance you do not reward a child for not running out in the street when you told them not too, right? Not being hit by a car is the reward itself. If you teach a child they need to be rewarded for good behavior how will they ever function in a job if that employer doesn't constantly give them a bonus or a pat on the back just for doing what they were hired to do. The paycheck itself is the reward. You would do well to develop discipline in your children and give them a sense of what is expected, then when they are obedient you may say "well done".
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