Making Memories While Shopping With Children

There are plenty of parents who denounce shopping with kids – 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.

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 parents and 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 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 do things they’d rather not. It delays instant gratification and builds self-control when things don’t always go one’s way – 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 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 parent-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 once 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, in particular, 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.

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

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Dads Don’t Need Extra Praise, Only a Smile

A dad was grocery shopping with his four young children when he crossed paths with a mom-acquaintance – and the encounter was anything but ordinary.

The mom stopped immediately, slowly stood up straight, put her hands on her hips and nodded with wide-ranging approval as she exclaimed, “I’m impressed!”

Unfortunately, this sort of encounter was nothing new. Just by way of being male, dads have been typecast as being out of their element in the grocery store, with kids in tow, and (gasp) all alone.

That mom might have been thinking: what kind of dad would confront this ordeal and actually enjoy it?

Actually, dads do. The funny thing is, they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing: they’re being parents.

Dads and moms parent different, but that doesn’t make one better or more right than the other. Just different. That’s a good thing.

Despite these differences, all dads have one thing in common: they see parenting as central to their identity and want to be treated the same as everyone else. None of them want to be considered a hero for serving as a breadwinner and still maintaining an engaged fatherly role. They don’t want praised for braving the so-called tempest of taking kids shopping. You don’t need to applaud them when they change a diaper, clean a room, fold the laundry or merely cook a meal. And they certainly don’t want to be coddled or checked upon when they’re left alone with the baby.

All of this comes naturally to them, and there should be no questioning their might as caring or fully competent parents. Simply put, they want to be held in the same regard as anyone else.

Think about it: women are no more instinctually capable of caring for children, but it’s the media who would never let you think otherwise. Dads are equal parents in every way, shape and form.

So, if you happen to see a dad in the grocery store with kids, the best thing you can do is just smile. There’s nothing better than knowing everyone is on the same team.

Comparing bad apples to good oranges

We’re all looking to eat healthier in life, and judging by smarter food options that seem to be growing more readily halosavailable in the grocery and at restaurants, businesses are listening.

That’s making harder work for marketers, who’ve spent a lifetime selling the “sizzle” to generations who think only of their taste buds first, and taste buds second. Many still want instant gratification and happiness, and if that comes in the form of ridiculously unhealthy junk food, then so be it.

Most grocery stores spend little time on produce name brand offerings, and simply stock them accordingly with what they can get available through their distribution channels. The selection is all good, but as consumers, we don’t necessarily look on a pear for a brand label that doesn’t exist.

Enter Halos, and its promise of pure goodness grown inside the tiny wonder of the mandarin orange, perhaps nature’s even more perfect food than the ever-venerable banana and its once ubiquitous tagline.

I love and eat a lot of fresh produce, but I have to admit that I have never really cared much for the mandarin orange.

But the way Halos markets its fruit made me purchase some specifically from them, and isn’t that what marketing is supposed to do?

For starters, check out its addicting, sensational commercials with an entertaining, simple attitude that turn out to be memorable, and downright funny.

Halos could have easily taken the tired Jif approach and targeted only moms, but guess what – it included several dads in its brilliant Super Bowl quality spots – validating what we’ve been saying all along: fathers have the intellect and capacity to shop, and the instinct to feed their kids.

Go figure.

Now, wander over to its pleasant website – halosfun.com – where you’ll find a refreshing minimalism and uncomplicatedness in full force, reminiscent of the simple mandarin itself. There you’ll see plenty of words backing up what Halos presented visually in their commercials.

Like so many grocery store foods prior (yes, we’re looking at you again, Jif), Halos had plenty of chances to exclude dads, but it didn’t by using words like people, families and even a story about good ‘ol pops. Here’s a sampling:

“Liz Coulter works with Wonderful Halos to help people make healthier snack choices.”

“For snacking, kids’ lunch boxes, and families on the go, Halos are nature’s perfect treat.”

“My Dad always told me about receiving an orange in his stocking at Christmas each year, and that they looked forward to that kind of treat.”

“In fact, families like yours have made Wonderful the fastest-growing brand in America’s produce aisles.”

The fact that half of the energy for Halos’ packing facility comes from green energy generation ultimately confirms what we’ve seen since the beginning: Halos is a winner.

The Halos brand may be relatively new to the grocery store aisle, but judging by their dad exclusion-free attitude, we think they’ll be around for a long time.

Keep up the heavenly work, Halos.