Tweens are too old to shop for, but often too moody to shop with. They’re entering that stage where they want to make all the decisions, and some of those decisions are impractical. Plus, they’d rather spend time with friends, texting and using social media, and being anywhere but with you.
Once you’ve made it clear to your tween that a shopping trip is imminent, you’ll want to plan ahead to make the experience as pleasant as possible for both of you. Here are a few tips to make wrangling and shopping with your tween easier.
1. Make Your Intentions Clear
If you’re shopping with your tween, there’s a reason for it, and you need to make your intentions for this specific trip clear. For example, explain that your tween can only take a break after getting so many clothes or other items he or she needs. Also, ask your tween to refrain from extended texting or talking with friends while shopping, which can be a huge and time-consuming distraction. As an incentive to stay on track and complete the shopping excursion, offer a reward for following all the rules, such as going to your tween’s favorite restaurant or visiting the gaming store.
2. Make Lists
Before you go, make lists. For example, make a list of the stores you’re going to and what to get in them. If you’re really extreme, set a time limit to spend in each store you visit. Limiting your time will help keep you focused and avoid impulse buys. To entice your tween to participate when shopping in certain stores, consider allowing him or her to buy oneitem that’s not on any list.
3. Set a Budget
Whether you set a budget per store, per item or for the whole trip, it’s an excellent strategy to avoid overspending. For example, abudget at the top of each list can help you keep things on track. Plus, budgeting can help you be a good role model by demonstrating to your tween how to be smart with money. If there’s something outside of the budget that your tween has to have, consider buying it in exchange for chores or take it out of your tween’s allowance.
4. Be Flexible
If you finish your planned shopping early, be willing to go in and look around stores that your teen enjoys. If you haven’t set an allotted time for the entire trip, you can do this in between the stores on your list. You never know, shopping in new stores might yield something you need at a better price. Plus, you’ll make your tween happy and show you’re willing to be fun and compromise while enforcing the rules of this trip.
5. Consider Online Shopping
Online shopping only has one downside, being that your tween can’t try on any clothes you buy. This can be easily combatted by shopping a few weeks before you need to and making sure the online retailer you buy from has a return or exchange policy.
With online shopping, you can skip a time-consuming outing. You can also skip public arguments. And it’s much easier to track your budget while shopping online. Even better, your tween might find items that are more unique, such as tween dresses, that are different from what the mainstream brick-and-mortar stores sell. Go to a nice café with a laptop or get takeout, sit down and shop. Being tech-savvy might even score you some points with trendy tweens.
6. Keep Your Distance
Rule one about shopping with tweens as a parent: You know nothing. Rule two: You’re totally embarrassing. So, backup a few steps. And when it comes to the changing room, concede that it’s off-limits. Make a deal that you won’t come in the changing room if your tween will step out and show you the items he or she likes. Make your arguments against specific garments then, but avoid voicing opinions that sound too forceful or biased.
7. Talk About Manipulative Marketing
Marketing targets tweens as much as teens these days. The latest trends are heavily marketed as must-haves, and they’re everywhere. But as a parent, you know what’s marketing manipulation, and you know what won’t last. Before heading out on a shopping trip, talk with your tween about how tweens are being tricked into buying what they don’t need, and in a few months, won’t want. Because you’re a parent, however, your opinion might not be wanted. To your child, you’ll probably sound ridiculous, and maybe even mean, but he or she might still absorb what you’re trying to say and not be so susceptible to manipulative marketing tactics.