Tips for shopping with your preteen girl
Posted by mandyf on May 20, 2012
Shopping with your preteen girl can be a wonderful way to bond that provides a fantastic experience for both of you. It can also be something akin to the Bay of Pigs Invasion with the subtle difference of the landing being made at the mall and the shots fired being words. To provide yourself the best odds of having the first experience as opposed to the latter there are some very easy to remember and follow tips to make things flow as smoothly as is possible.
The first tip is to let her choose some of the places you will visit. This is going to make her feel like a part of the process rather than someone that is merely along for the ride. Yes she is young, but she does know what she does and does not like, and you should be allowing her to exercise a little bit of her judgment in this regard.
Set some ground rules as to what will and will not be purchased. Your preteen may balk at this and shoot you some ugly looks, but it is better to get that out of the way at home or in the car instead of a store aisle. What you should go over is what items need to be purchased which can be anything from school clothes or supplies, to birthday or Christmas gifts. Let her know there is a budget and that the budget has to stretch out enough to buy everything, not just one item.
In regards to the money aspect of making shopping with your preteen girl work well sometimes, it sometimes helps to make an incentive challenge out of saving. If you have $100 to spend, a great trick is to tell her that whatever money is left over at the end of the shopping day you will split with her. If you come in $20 under budget, reward her helping being frugal by giving her $10 to spend on anything she wants. You are still coming in under your projected budget, and she has learned a lesson.
Make a shopping trip fun! As stereotypical as it is to say, moms understand shopping with a young girl much better than dads in most cases. Dads tend to be in and out quick shoppers that target a specific item and do very little window shopping. Moms on the other hand, even when they are busy tend to remember how much fun window shopping is, so plan to spend a little more time to allow for this. Even if you aren’t going to buy your little princess an outfit she may adore, there is no harm in letting her try it on and style it in front of the mirror a few minutes. To make it more fun for her go ahead and snap a few pictures of her with your cell phone camera maybe so she can have a durable memory of the day as well.
The biggest tip is to stop yourself from caving into her whims no matter how much she bats her eyes or gives you the sad puppy dog face. If you allow her to control you enough with this tactic before she’s even a teen, by the time she is of driving age she’ll be doing the same thing to try to talk you into buying her a a Ferrari or something equally nuts. Put your foot down and nip this behavior in the bud before it proves to be her go to move for getting what she wants.
The main thing is that you have fun together without going out of control. Take every opportunity you can to spend time with your preteen girl shopping so that you can help instill good smart shopping habits in her. It is much easier to do it early in life than later, and may even keep her from using you as her personal ATM when she spends irresponsibly as a teen earning her money.