Keeping your child's "Gimmies" (gimmie this, gimmie that - I need this!) in check can be a constant struggle. And it's not confined to just the holiday season. How often do we hear a child screaming at the store because their mommy or daddy did not get them a toy or candy? So how do you rein in a bad case of the "Gimmies?"
As a mother to three children I learned to do this early. If you let this behavior last more than one trip to the store you will learn to hate shopping - and that's not something that can last - even if it's just a quick trip to the grocery store. So how can you keep the "Gimmies" in check before they become full-blown disasters and you are red-faced in front of other shoppers?
Be Consistently Firm When you say "No"
The first rule is to be consistent. Never give in to your child's demand. You are in control and need to demonstrate this as soon as they utter their first (and hopefully last) demand. If you waver and give in you are teaching them that their screams and tantrums result in a toy or candy. They will rarely relent once they learn this. So the trick is simple. Never give in. Never.
Teach them to be Grateful
How often do you teach your children to be thankful? Being grateful is demonstrating to your children that what matters most is recognizing all that we have - and not worrying about what we don't have. When my children were little they would say "thankfuls" every night. They would list out all of the things including having a roof over their head, a stuffed animal to cuddle with at night and having food on the table. Basic necessities are often overlooked and taken for granted. That's a sure sign that you need to instill a sense of gratitude with your children.
The Best Present is Being Present
The best gift you can give anyone is your full attention. So the next time your spouse, child or friend comes to you with a question or a hug, be sure to drop whatever it is you were doing and give them your full attention. It may not register the first time, but if you do it consistently they pick up on it and start doing it too. Being present is a gift. It's a gift that can prevent the "Gimmies."
Give unto Others
For a number of years my family would serve a hot Thanksgiving dinner to 200 low-income families. The reality of seeing these families gave our children first-hand experience that there are many people around them who are struggling to get by. Now that my girls are older they have volunteered in more strenuous ways including building a house with a team from church with their own two hands in four days. Yup, not a single power tool was used to build a two-room shelter. It was a pivotal moment has helped shape them into giving human beings.
My children are far from being financially independent. But ever since they were able to work they have earned their own spending money. Their jobs have included babysitting, pet sitting (two children have had a pet sitting business for eight years), and working for a small business. They know that they have to earn their own money if they want to purchase an electronic device, clothes beyond the basic necessities and for activities. We taught them early on that money does NOT grow on trees or dispense freely from an ATM. This has taught them to be frugal and wise about their purchases. No more "Gimmies' in this house.
The path to a pleasant shopping trip takes planning, patience and persistence. What ways do you teach your children to prevent the "Gimmies?"
Tina Case is a Yahoo Shine Parenting Guru. When she's not writing here she can be found on her own blogs Moms Who Click and Parent Grapevine. She is also an established photographer in the San Francisco-Bay area. Find her at Tina Case Photography and follow her on Instagram and Twitter.