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Consumption explained to children

La consommation expliquée aux enfants

The holiday season is over, we have just gone through the most intense period of consumption of the whole year. We sometimes consume in moderation, sometimes in excess, but are we concerned with educating our children to do so intelligently and responsibly?

First of all, it's no secret that children learn from the adults around them. They take us as an example and if we have bad consumption habits, they risk developing similar behavior very early in their life as consumers. If they notice that we buy without really caring about the prices and the origin of the products, it is very likely that they do not care more than us. Before talking to them about responsible consumption, the first thing to do is to make sure they have some notions about the value of money.

Dollars are made with pennies

At the grocery store, when I carry my children there, I like to let them choose products. Let's say that it motivates their interest in following me in this family activity which does not always thrill them. On the other hand, I take the time to show them the difference between two products if, for example, one format is on sale and the other is not. Even if they are too small to do the calculation themselves, they are old enough to understand my reasoning if I explain to them the advantages of taking one product rather than another. There are often traps that are there to influence choices that are not necessarily the best for our wallet, the environment or our health. Reading labels without going overboard and taking the time to compare are habits that children will keep in the future.

ouistitine épicerie

Ouistitine at the Signé Local boutique by Rosalie Deschênes-Grégoire

The Marketing departments of large corporations have understood this for a long time, children are a tempting target to seduce and they are exposed very young to all kinds of temptation even if now the advertisements aimed at children on television are more regulated than in the past. As they will therefore be tempted by a multitude of different products and services and as money does not grow on trees, it is important to quickly instill in them the value of it. As our grandparents used to say: "It's with pennies that we make piastres!" Well, the pennies no longer exist, but the principle remains!

The notion of value through positive reinforcement

At home, we have a reward system that lets them see that when we want something , we have to work to get it. Indeed, for good behavior, they accumulate precious stones in a vase. When they have reached the set limit, they are entitled to choose a surprise of reasonable value or an activity. Thanks to this, they understand more easily when we tell them that we, as parents, have to work hard to earn our money. He does not imagine that we only have to go to an ATM and that it gives us all the money we need. So while reinforcing certain behaviors, they also learn to manage their little nest egg so preciously amassed. You will kill two birds with one stone with this trick! Playing at the store or at the fruit and vegetable stand is also a fun way for children to learn about the value of money.

Les belles combines magasin général

The Belles Combines General Store

Once children have begun to understand the value of money, it is also desirable to talk about responsible drinking. $1 stores and big box stores may not be banished from your shopping habits, but it's also important to differentiate between a local product, made by people here, by comparing it to anything which is imported. When a toy bought at a low price breaks after 2-3 uses, why not take the opportunity to talk about quality versus quantity ?

Children are brilliant and they quickly understand that it is to their advantage to wait a little longer for an equivalent toy of better quality with which they can play for hours and hours without fear of breaking it. Why not explain to them that when we buy a local product, we encourage someone who lives near us to earn a good living? Explaining to them that they are helping to give work and a salary to people near us makes them realize that it is important to look at the origin of the products we buy.

Expo Made in Quebec by Rosalie Deschênes-Grégoire

Shop in different places

Instead of always making the rounds of shopping malls, why not find out if there is a market, exhibition or other event bringing together Quebec creators near you? We have just gone through a period of the year that is very conducive to this type of fair, but there are some in the different regions of Quebec throughout the year when you look a little. There are often children's activities planned during these events, so young and old will find something for them.

In closing, don't forget that your children are the consumers of tomorrow. By instilling in them, as early as possible, consumer values ​​based on thoughtful purchasing, they will become responsible and vigilant consumers.

Cover: Ouistitine at the boutique Signé Local by Rosalie Deschênes-Grégoire

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