Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Do your preschoolers shoplift?
Last night the kids and I went to Walmart for groceries. On the way out, I noticed Lana hiding her crayons rather suspiciously. When I checked her out, she had a tube of chap-stick discretely hidden between the colors. I took it from her and stuck it back on the counter. I told her that if that happens again, she will have to take the item to the sales clerk, pay, then hand over the item to me. She said she completely understood, and that there was no need in telling daddy.
Either Logan was really good at shoplifting, or we never had that problem with him. We actually went through this when Lana was between 2 and 3. We had to frisk her before leaving the store each time. I don't think they have shoplifting rehab in preschool, so I figured I better figure something out. We didn't have the Mini Market pictured above, but we did have a cash register just like that one. I set up the living room as a store and allowed her to shop. She always had her baby in the stroller, along with her purse. When she was ready to check-out, I scanned all her items. I would ask if that were all, and she would pay. It never failed, she would lift something. I would send off "sirens", and pretend to be security. I would empty out all of her things, and ask what she paid for. It was a huge deal. Her aunt is a State Trooper, so I even had her talk to Lana. Now, I know she wasn't even 3, but she needed to learn. She also loved that game, so it wasn't actually torture.
Lana either got better at shoplifting, or she finally got the point of having to pay in a store. We have also let the kids take some of their own money to buy things, so they have seen how to shop and that you have to pay. I'm sure last night was just very tempting, since I was busy putting groceries in the buggy. I'm sure Walmart has to have a huge right-off allowance for the things they put so closely to busy kid hands at a crowded checkout. They are so wrong.
Even at 2, kids know that taking things that do not belong to them is wrong. If they didn't, they would just grab it, and go. Lana was very clever to hide her stuff. I'm not putting her through rehab yet, but I do take that stuff very seriously. I was a sneaky, sticky fingered kid, so I'm hoping that she will grow out of it soon. Hmmm...maybe that's why my sister went into law enforcement. She got tired of her things missing. Carla, you are so welcome. :)