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Shopping with Children

Years ago when rearing my children, I used a technique that saved money and my own sanity from shopping tantrums.

When a child wanted something that I was not prepared to buy, I would cheerfully agree that it was indeed, "wonderful", "neat", or "cool" and that we should remember to get it "when our ship comes in". I never said "No", which is disappointing, and has such a final ring to the subject. Sometimes they asked when the ship was coming in and I'd say, "I don't know, but I sure wish it would hurry up."


The key phrase was "...when our ship comes in", (which was an old time phrase for ,"when we have money").

Using this technique validated his/her ability to choose, and gave hope for the future while teaching the ability to withhold need for immediate gratification.

Thirty years later, my son said he'd always imagined a tall ship coming toward him and wondered when it was ever going to arrive. This worked like magic for me. Not only did it create family harmony but it saved an awful lot of money.

Source: I read this in a letter to the editor in a popular women's magazine in the 1970's. I cannot remember whether it was Woman's Day or Family Circle.

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May 8, 20110 found this helpful

Very good advice! I love it and I'm sending a copy to our daughter.

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May 9, 20110 found this helpful

I'm saving your good info for when I become a grandparent.

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May 10, 20110 found this helpful

I knew a young mother years ago who would take the toy or whatever the child was fussing over, hand it to a clerk, and say, "This lady (man) is going to hold this and keep it safe until we're done shopping." The clerk understood, and by the time they were out the door, the child had forgotten about it.

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May 11, 20110 found this helpful

I wish I'd thought of this strategy when I was raising my four on less than a shoestring! Maybe I should send it to my own daughter and daughter-in-law.

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