MAIN LOGO WITH MM[heading style=”1″]Mommy Masters welcomes Todd Duplain, a dad who is teaching his kids the value of money and how to appreciate everything they have.  Read below as Todd shares great tips and his perspective on parenting. [/heading]

Recently (and more often than I care to mention) I found myself taking two of my four boys to Target and Dick’s Sporting Goods [insert any other store here] for some household and sports items we need to keep our lives running.  Every dad has had this experience and knows where this is going.  You enter the store and BOOM your kids are off to the races.  Within seconds the kids return back to you with their arms filled with stuff they “need” and “must have”.   These “needs” generally include two Xbox games, another super cool Lego creation, the latest Disney board game and several packs of gum—not sure how they made it to the back of the store and then to the checkout line where the gum is, in less than 45 seconds!?!?

Now candidly, since I am not home during the day and get less quality time with my boys than my wife, sometimes I have the urge to spoil my kids a little when we are together.  It’s almost as if buying them something will somehow makes up for my feelings of lost time.   Note to self, it never does.  But nonetheless, the guilt of lost time is still present.

However, if you’re like me and believe strongly in teaching kids the importance of the value of money and being content with what you have , then here are 8 tips to keep those trips a little more manageable for yourself while teaching your child.

Tip 1–Explain the difference between a “want” and a “need” before, during and after the trip to the store.

It is important for children to know that toys and games are not needs but food and clothing are.

Tip 2– Talk about a list of at least 5 things they are grateful for in their lives in the car ride there.

On your way to the store, ask your kids to name blessings they have in their lives.  Yes, even if your kids do not mention Dad but NBA2K14 (the hottest new and popular Xbox game) is the first item that comes out of their mouth, that’s OK.  The point of this exercise is simply for them to recognize they have much and probably need very little.

Tip 3–Have them create a list of items they need prior to entering the store.

This is the old grocery store list idea—only buy the things you write down.  My own research with my kids suggests that 82.4567% of the time they will find something else in the store that they didn’t write down but they still really need.  Nevertheless, if you gave them the opportunity to write down their “needs”, once the kid pulls the Minecraft Core Zombie from the shelf, your easy answer can be “sorry, not on the list”.

Tip 4–Have them wait a week, or at least several days before they purchase something.

This is one of the best tips and something I use with my kids virtually every trip.  Once they find something they “need” tell them they if they still want that item a week from now, you will consider allowing them to purchase it on your next trip to the store.  Ninety Five percent of the time the need, which is really a want, will go away all the while you have taught your child delayed gratification.

Tip 5–Get them to help you with your shopping.

Take their mind off their wants.  If they are old enough to go about the store on their own or can go with a sibling in pairs, give them part of your list and let them go to town.  Just don’t be surprised if you see a bag of M&M’s at the bottom of the cart.

Tip 6—Play games while in the store. 

Challenge your kids to manage the check out process with the clerk.  Get them comfortable with talking to adults, using their manners and learning how to use money, with your supervision of course.  Have your kids walk around with you and estimate/guess the amount of money the items you purchase are going to cost.  It is important children start to understand the cost of items and that even little purchases at Target can add up.

Tip 7–Have them use their own money.

This one requires no explanation and is the “Dad I need it” killer.  Remember, from their perspective it is so much easier to waste mom and dad’s money than their own!

Tip 8—Revisit the purchase later.

So if you do ultimately allow the kids to purchase something at the store, don’t guilt about it, we all do it from time to time.  However, after a week or so, they usually won’t be playing with that need (which is really a want) and ask them if they still think that was a good purchase.  The answer will probably be “yes” (because kids don’t like to admit defeat) but there is a part of them (calling it a budding conscience) that tells them it was probably a waste of money.

Oh, and by the way, back to that lost time thing a lot of dad’s feel because we are not home as much.  Every now and then, after a good, successful trip to the store, we will stop and get an ice cream cone or hot chocolate on the way home—just me and the kids.  My kids tend to remember and appreciate experiences more than things!

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About Todd:

Todd Duplain’s most important role in his life is to be a father to his four sons.  As a dad, Todd has developed a huge passion and desire to guide children to be responsible, kind, ethical and productive citizens.
Because of this passion, he created the Creating Character “In Kids” app, which is a great tool to instill good behavior, responsibility, discipline, and morals in your children AGES 5-9.  In the coming months he will be releasing subsequent apps that are geared towards toddlers, tweens and teens.

 Download App Here: 

Follow Todd on Twitter:

Visit The Creating Character “In Kids” Website:


If you are a dad interested in sharing your thoughts on mastering fatherhood and all things parenting, click here.  We want to hear your perspective!

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