A Special Treat
A Special Treat
I have great memories of buying hot chips after swimming lessons as a child. Hot chips were a rare treat in our family. But after swimming we’d get a whole bag each. They were 10 cents a bag and we couldn’t even finish them. Do you have memories of special treats as a child?
Each school holidays mum would take us to out to lunch. We would go to the cafeteria in the large variety store in our town. And I always bought the same thing: chips with sauce, an ice-cream sundae, and a glass of fanta. It was such a special treat.
A friend of mine used to take his children out for special occasions. They never had coke at home, but on special outings with Dad they could have as much coke as they liked. There was no limit! Recently these young people were sharing treasured memories at their dad’s 50th birthday. The outings and the unlimited coke was one of the memories they shared.
There are some good reasons for having treats with your kids.
One thing is, It saves money to keep things like eating out, ice-creams and movies, for special occasions. Once we set up a ritual or a tradition, it means we don’t spend money on those luxuries any other time. But instead of saying “we can’t afford that”, which can be negative, it becomes a positive thing to look forward to.
You might say,
“We have McDonald’s every Friday.”
“We go to the movies in school holidays.”
“We get to choose a special ice-cream when we finish our exams.”
“We only have juice at breakfast time.”
You will think of your own traditions, but the great thing is, children accept a limitation better when it is built into the family’s routine. When they know it is coming, they are usually happy to wait.
It may take a bit of work to establish these routines and traditions, but you will be surprised how normal and accepted they become.
Not only do they save us money, but they teach our children to be patient. Put another way, our kids learn delayed gratification. This capacity has many benefits as they grow older…( It will be good for their teeth and their health.) It will also mean they learn to work first, play later. They won’t feel entitled to have whatever they want when they want it, but can wait, save,and appreciate the treats when they do come.
Another great advantage is that it gives children a moment to treasure, moments that become special memories…. when they felt loved, when they got to go out on their own with mum or dad and have ANY ice-cream, or eat anywhere they chose, or snuggle up and watch a movie that they had looked forward to all week.
We can get caught in a trap of our kids nagging us every time we go to the shops. Shopping trips can become one long battle of them asking and us saying no, or getting angry. or giving in after we get worn down.
I have a suggestion that might help you turn some of those battles into something that becomes a happy memory, and an inner resource for your children into the future.
Out of the blue one day, tell your child that every Wednesday, they will be allowed to have a lolly from the supermarket. (Of course fill in your own day, and your own preferred treat- a chocolate bar, an ice-cream, whatever.) As that day gets closer, talk about the upcoming treat, and how many days there are to go. You could even have a trip to the supermarket before that day and choose what the special treat is going to be. Write it down on a piece of paper, and ask the child to look after it, or put it up on the fridge. At all times stay positive. Look at the calendar with them to see how many days to go. Be excited with your child. If they ask for a lolly before then, say, “No, it’s not Wednesday yet. Remember we get lollies on Wednesday.
This can become a regular event they look forward to and will save many battles.
Stay calm. Stick to your plan. If necessary, be a broken record, that keeps on repeating. “Yes, I know you love lollies. Remember we are going to get one on Wednesday.” Keep your voice calm, quiet and firm.
It won’t be long and your little one will catch on. Wednesday will become a day to look forward to. Maybe you could treat yourself as well.