A friend of mine recently confessed to me that she grew up with, wait for it …budgeting fantasies. Before you get in a kerfuffle over this, here’s the story.
One of her parents would send her to the nearest store to pick up a box of cereal, bag of apples or extra milk. She would march 2 blocks up the hill to the local grocery and shop for what was on the list. However, before she chose those items and walked back home, she created her own mental shopping list for playing house. When I have my own house, she mused, I will buy this and this, and this! Plus, she added the prices in her head to keep track of her spending. Eventually, she did go back home with only her family’s requested items in the bag! (She assures me that this was one of her very favorite things to do.)
You may not have experienced this in your family, but I am sure that you can see some advantages to allowing a child this independence, instead of dragging a bored, screaming child down yet another grocery aisle.
Would you allow your child to assume responsibility for choosing one group of food for the family each week? Maybe milk or cereal? If you’re bolder, how about fruits or vegetables? Here are some benefits to consider:
- it may increase their cooperation at meal-time
- they might enjoy it
- it will give them a practical application for arithmetic
- it gives them a window into what their parents do with their income each month
Pick a popular food group, assign a dollar amount to it that you can live with – for better or worse, and try it out with your children.
Would your child eat more radishes if they chose them at the store?
Try it out and let me know what happens!