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.