Making Memories While Shopping with Children

There are plenty of parents who denounce shopping with children. The begging, the meltdowns, spilled food, bickering, maybe even lost children. But the truth is that kids want their parents’ time. 

Dads seek the same thing moms do during their shopping experience, and that’s building a closer connection with their kids.

Image via Tom Konecny

So, fear not fellow shoppers! With a little bit of preparation, organization, and well-established, realistic expectations, a visit to the store can strengthen bonds between dads and the children. As for the products you buy, it can even increase product and brand loyalty.

Behavioral issues result in stores mostly because children are bored. Kids end up not being invested in the task at hand the way adults are: completing the to-buy list, watching the budget, and reading nutrition labels. 

No matter how young they may be, children can have an active role in shopping. Even if it means playing a shopping game, helping to find items on the shelf, or simply weighing the items one plans to purchase on the produce scales. It’s those actions that can make children feel a valid part of contributing to a family through problem-solving. It teaches them to be patient during those times in life while forced to wait or to do things they’d rather not do. It delays instant gratification and builds self-control when things don’t always go one’s way. These are all essential life skills, particularly ones used later as parents.

Simply put, shopping as a family with the children can make a simple chore an event. And if you’re still not convinced that taking the children to the store is your idea of fun, consider this. You certainly don’t remember all of the meals your parents cooked for you as children. But you do know that the food provided you with nourishment, contentment, energy, and nutrition. It helped you grow, and you treasure the memories of sharing mealtime together. 

The same can be said for shopping with children. Yes, it’s a menial task that could bring out the worst in you. But examined with a different perspective, that same task can become one of many fond experiences for your kids. Besides, if you are inflicted with that added guilty feeling that you might not be spending enough quality time with your kids, shopping creates another opportunity to strengthen and enhance the father-child relationship.

These shopping experiences strengthen bonds with parents and siblings. But believe it or not, it also builds product and brand loyalty with kids. For those of us who grew up using a certain product or brand, there’s great comfort in using the same products of our youth. It affords a dependable, trustworthy feeling to enjoy the same products as adults that we used as children. But imagine the stronger allegiance to a brand that one purposely chooses at a very young age – and then continues using it for life. 

There’s a lot to like about that unique scenario if you’re a marketer. It makes reaching those young children-turned-adults much easier, and they’re far more bankable as lifelong customers. After all, numerous studies have shown that children wield heavy influence on their parents’ purchasing activity. And dads have a propensity to purchase treats for rewards to indulge loved ones, or yes, even to avoid in-store meltdowns. Marketers who can accurately target and influence dads, as well as the children who accompany them, will have much better odds at keeping them as customers for a lifetime.

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So the next time you head out to the store, bring the kids along. Someday they’ll pass on those fun memories to their children. 

{ MORE: 5 Simple and Filling Back-to-School Breakfasts }

Do you have great memories of shopping with children?

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Making Memories While Shopping with Children

Tom Konecny is a dad of four children and husband to wife, Erika. Tom currently serves as a private consultant in writing, communications and marketing. In 2013, Tom founded Dad Marketing, a site dedicated to exploring the world of marketing to dads. He previously worked in sports marketing, served as an associate editor and writer for several publications, and directed an award-winning corporate marketing department. His first book, "DADLY Dollar$" will be published this summer, and he is c ... More

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