Tip of the week: How to stop your kids from whining over theme park souvenirs
Published: September 11, 2012 at 9:56 AM
"Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! (or "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!") - I want this! Buy it for me?"
You cannot fight this. So don't even try.
You can try to teach your kids not to want all the cool stuff they'll see when visiting your favorite theme park, but let's face it: You're fighting millions of dollars in research, marketing, and product development. Parks employ and contract with thousands of people whose job it is to sell your kids stuff. You can't win.
So why try to fight a hopeless battle? Focus on what you can control instead - putting a stop to the whining.
Here's a simple solution that's worked for me and for hundreds of other parents: Make your kids spend their own money on theme park souvenirs. Give them an allowance before you leave on vacation, or, better yet, make them earn their theme park spending money doing chores or other work.
Tell your children before you leave on the trip that they can't ask you for money to spend on souvenirs. If they want anything, they'll have to spend their own money. Get started now, though, months before you leave, so your kids will have a fair opportunity to save and earn they'll want for vacation.
Your kids can get an idea of what's available, and how much it will cost, by going on the Internet with you to the parks' online merchandise stores:
You're trying to teach your children how to make a budget, shop around, and learn how to make their own informed decisions about spending their money. Plus, by encouraging them think in advance about what they want to buy, you might find that they're offering to do even more work around the house so they can earn extra money for the trip!
Ultimately, you're trying to change the way your kids react when they see something cool in the store. Instead or reflexively wanting and asking for it, you want them to start thinking skeptically about it instead - "Is this something I really want, or need? Can I get a better deal? Or would I rather buy something else?"
When kids are spending their own, hard-earned money, they're a lot more likely to ask themselves that question than if they're always tapping into Mom and Dad's seemingly bottomless wallets.
So by making your kids spend their own money on theme park souvenirs, not only can you put a stop to the whining, you can help raise some smarter consumers, as well.