By Dickson Tumuramye
Every parent wishes to go for shopping with his children, but it is one of the tedious tasks especially when you have young toddlers. I always enjoy going with my youngsters for grocery shopping especially in the supermarkets and shops. It can be horrendous because whatever attracts them, it becomes part of them and they want to take it. They don’t care about the cost and how much you have in your pocket.
When we would enter into a supermarket, my middle youngster would cry for almost anything that came across his eyes. We would leave the supermarket with him throwing tantrums. Sometimes we would regret why we went with him because he could cry and we would feel embarrassed. But slowly and steadily, we kept explaining to him that not everything in the shelves is for taking at that moment. We would also tell him that it was not on our budget.
We later decided to start planning together the things we intended to buy before going for shopping. At four years now, I am seeing positive results. These days he can easily tell us what he would like to shop. If it’s beyond our budget, we agree on what we can afford in his budget. He no longer cries or throws tantrums. This has taught me that children, like adults, can understand if you well explain something to them.
This exercise comes with both good and bad benefits. To begin with, children should also be exposed to such things at an early age. They learn a lot and start to develop critical thinking skills. It’s a way of teaching your children the entrepreneurship skills, saving culture and management of their needs at a tender age. For example, when you finish buying items, give children money, ask them to count it and pay the seller/teller.
You are setting a good example for them to emulate and they will see you as their role model/mentor. Your children should know where the grocery they use at home comes from, and you will see that there is no more wastage. You are also exposing them to different items and teaching them how to prioritize what is important at a particular time, how to easily make a decision and manage their emotions, tantrums and budgets.
They learn to appreciate they can’t have similar interests at the same time and family interests take the precedent. With the shopping excitement, don’t be surprised to shop food stuffs with them and upon reaching home, they are looking forward to join their mummy in the kitchen to prepare dinner. This will stimulate their appetite and it can help kids who don’t like meals to start eating without fights.
The shopping benefits can be equated with going for any exhibitions. Dear papas, never miss the opportunity to take your family to exhibitions. It’s another way I have seen that my children have developed skills in some areas. The children during that exhibition are able to see variety of items, meet and interact with all kinds of people and this enhances their social interactions and economic skills. It lifts their confidence in public as well as their understanding.
Last year, we went to an agricultural show in Jinja, but a year later now, they still recall what they saw and learnt. As a result, my family is now productive economically and we have engaged ourselves in farming than ever before which is fun for children. Such shopping and exhibition activities promote your children’s intellectual ability and problem solving skills and encourage them grow with creativity.
The writer is a Child Advocate