Pester Power

We’ve all succumbed to the pressure, so let us give you some tips on how to lessen the pestering.

At the supermarket

A study carried out in Australian supermarkets asked parents about supermarket shopping with children and how they coped with pester power. These are some of the suggestions they had for coping:

  • Avoid shopping with children when possible.
  • In situations where parents need to shop with their children, avoid the larger supermarkets and use smaller, specialty shops, or choose smaller supermarkets that have less choice and less marketing directed towards children.
  • Avoid junk food aisles in the supermarket and shop with a purpose.
  • Ensure that children have eaten before or have a healthy snack they could eat while shopping.
  • Be consistent in your response to requests (pestering) for food.
  • Involve children in the shopping experience. This distracts them, reduces boredom and provides an opportunity for learning.
  • Give them some choice in the food (e.g. picking the shape of pasta).
  • Use a shopping list. Children can assist by marking off the list and the list can be used to avoid a request not on it.
  • Setting boundaries at a young age was one technique that was seen as effective in reducing pestering behaviour.

Reference: Campbell S, James EL, Stacey FG, Bowman J, Chapman K, Kelly B.  A mixed-method examination of food marketing directed towards children in Australian supermarkets.  Healthy Promotion International.  2014 Jun;29(2):267-77.

At home

  • Avoid eating junk food yourself.
  • Don’t automatically turn on the TV when you get home or leave it on as background noise.
  • Limit children’s screen time (including internet and computer games) to less than 2 hours daily.
  • Record children’s favourite shows and fast-forward through the ad breaks later – or use the mute button during ads.
  • Ensure children understand that personal information they provide online may not be secure (this includes registering in children’s sections of food companies’ websites or competitions – companies may use this information to target your child for future marketing).

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