Monday, January 28, 2013

Grocery shopping, kid traps, and healthy rewards

Headed to the store with mom, purse in hand!
The other day I went on a particularly laborious grocery shopping trip.  We needed to do some major pantry restocking and I had lots and lots of coupons.  And....I had my preschooler with me.  Normally she is a very good shopping companion and I keep her occupied with writing lists and looking for the item on a coupon.  However, the grocery store where I shop has toys and candy around every bend.  I swear, not one aisle is safe from these kid traps.  Freezer aisle?  End cap has matchbox cars, which my little girl loves.  Entering the meat department?  Seasonal Barbie!  Leaving the meat department?  Entemann's doughnuts and holiday cupcakes.  And did I mention that the cereal aisle has cereal on one side and CANDY on the the other. I know you must be crying with me by now.  

I seriously need to say, "No" so many times, that it has sometimes felt worth it to go to the slightly more expensive grocery store because it has only one easily avoidable toy aisle.  No matter how many ways I try to positively spin the no, she knows it still means no.   And there are lots of ways to spin it!  Not today, my love.  Let's save for it.  We'll discuss it later.  We can put it on the Christmas/Valentine's/Birthday/MakeUpSomeDamnHoliday list.  Sometimes I get a little creative.  

So on this particular day I prepped Lilly before we got to the store.  I have done this before, but it does not always work because, well, she is 4 and a new Barbie, matchbox car, or box of fruit snacks can be just too irresistible.  On this day, though, she was just amazing.  She did not ask for one treat or toy.  She didn't whine or have any tantrums.  This was an hour-plus shopping trip.  I was so proud of her.
I remembered to praise her during the trip to take advantage of that positive reinforcement.  


I had not promised her any kind of reward going into the store, but as we were checking out I decided that I wanted to reward her extraordinary behavior.  My first thought was to stop at the DunkinDonuts for a doughnut treat on our way home.  I immediately decided that I was not going to do that because I did not want to be around them.  It was amazing to me how many times the thought to go to DD kept popping into my head.  Even when I had made a smarter, healthier reward choice the thought came to mind, unbidden.  

What does this tell me?  It was so clear to me that I use food as a reward for myself, and now for my family.  One of my main goals in changing my eating behavior is to be a healthy example for my daughter.  There have been many times when I have failed her in that regard.  Today I succeeded.  Instead of stopping for a doughnut with my 4 year old, I made time for us to play with play dough together when we got home from the store.  She was thrilled to do something special with me, and I was thrilled that I stood strong against my own weakness.  Choice by choice is the way to a healthier life for me! 
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