As parents we have all been there, a great day out at the zoo/museum/aquarium with lots of fun had by all until you reach the exit and there stands the gift shop and the day is deflated by a ‘Can I have one of these?’and ‘I really need one of those’ all the way to either the till or the exit.
So here is something to think about before your next trip to save both your budget and yourself from those exact gift shop experiences:
- Be prepared, if you have seen the gift shop there is a good chance your child(ren) certainly has.
- You don’t need to say you cannot have something but try saying what you are going to do instead:
- ‘We don’t have time to stop in the gift shop today because we are going for a picnic.’
- We don’t have time to stop in the gift shop today because we are going home to (insert favourite craft/game here)
But don’t lie about what you are going to do, they will remember. Just remember it does not need to be something big they will be happy you are just spending time with them doing something other than homework.
- Ask yourself what is the worst that will happen if you do have to say no? They have a melt down in the shop? Well they are not the first and they certainly won’t be the last. You are allowed to say no and if it is not in your budget you certainly need to.
- Think to yourself when was the last time you brought a toy and they played with it more than the day your brought it? (be honest)
- Museums/art galleries maybe free entry and gifts shops will help pay for them, but that is only because no one contributes the recommended donation. So if you can afford the gift shop why not pay the donation instead? Or pay what you can they are not going to be unhappy if you only pay a £1.
- If your child receives commission/pocket money/allowance talk to them before you go, say that they are more than welcome to go to the gift shop if they pay for it themselves.
Is it you? Is it you that can’t resist the gift shop and then you end up with everyone picking something to take home? I was a lot like this, I would always say I wanted to get something to remember our day and it would be an ornament that we no longer have or a tea towel that just sits inside a cupboard never to be seen. My way around this now is that on larger trips or holidays I will go to a gift shop purely for a postcard, the children do the same so we spend about £2 in total. The children send theirs to relatives and tell them about our holiday or day which they love doing and our family love to receive and I keep mine to write about our day on the back and I am storing them to look back on.
BUDGET – You may have the best laid out plans and budgeted for one or two trips this summer holiday but just remember the extras as they will come up and surprise you if you have not thought about them. Will you be buying lunch or picnic? Ice cream or no ice cream? The gift shop or no gift shop? Just be prepared and remember memories are more important than stuff so concentrate your efforts more on having a great day.