Bribe the kids with Oreos….well, not exactly
Happy New Year! Now that we’re off to a fresh start, think about putting the kids to work at the supermarket. When you go grocery shopping, assign your children to specific tasks. For example, ask your daughter to take control of all paper products — napkins, paper towels, tissues, toilet paper, paper plates. Ask your son to take control of all cereal and breakfast items. Have them write their own shopping lists oriented around their specific assignments.
Each child is in charge of rounding up the items on his/her shopping list. At checkout, each child is in charge of any coupons or bargains. At home, each child is in charge of stowing his/her products in the pantry, on the shelves, and wherever they go. Your daughter will sort and stack the paper products; your son will shelve the cereal and refrigerate the other breakfast items.
Then, as time goes on, each child is in charge of monitoring usage of the products. When napkins run low, your daughter should add that item back to her shopping list for the next trip to the supermarket. Let your kids know that they can add something they want to the list— perhaps a bag of Oreo cookies — if they maintain their shopping lists accurately.
Involving your children in the household shopping responsibilities serves many useful purposes. For one thing, the children learn more about how the household works, the need to take personal responsibility for stocking household goods, and the process of planning, spending and buying groceries and household necessities.
Perhaps more importantly, the children become more deeply connected to the house — to YOUR HOUSE. If you’re involved in a child custody dispute, then you’ve succeeded in tying the children to your home, giving them tasks connected to your home, and building in responsibilities and rewards that take place on your turf. Children who take pride in their home-based responsibilities may, in fact, be reluctant to stay away from the home for any length of time.
The fact that the children are so clearly invested in the operation of your home is also a signal to a judge, or to a custody psychologist, that your kids see your home as THEIR HOME — more evidence of why you should have greater custody rights.
Let me know if (and how) you involve the kids in your shopping trips.