Five reasons malls are bad for kids

Here's a confession - I like shopping. I well remember the Becky Bloomwoodish feeling when I stepped into a mall after a year of abstinence during my pregnancy (I was on bed rest most of of the time). I'm not a great spender though, thanks to years and years of conditioning - of being taught to think before you spend. But I like browsing, I enjoy window shopping, I love hanging out at coffee shops. However I make sure it's only on weekends. I cannot stand the crowd.

When the kids were tiny I would put them in their stroller and head out to the mall. I'd park them in the food court and dawdle over my coffee while spooning mashed bananas into their tiny mouths. I liked watching people and they did too staring around eagerly with their button eyes. 

A visit to the mall was quite a treat till..

...they discovered their feet

That was the end of all the peace and quite. Since the day they crawled out of the stroller they never stopped. They kept growing and so did their need to explore. They looked everywhere including loos, trial rooms, lingerie sections and under mannequin skirts. 

Then they discovered 'want'

.. and after that nothing was enough for them. It was 'I want' 'I want' 'I want' all the way.

9 years later

I dislike malls with a vengeance. They make the twins go a little berserk. I wrote about their mall adventures earlier hereA friend said it was because I didn't take them often enough, which may be true. However there are other reasons: 

Here's why I'd rather not take the kids to the mall

Malls are exhausting: 

The unending aisles, the walk-walk-walk, the no-place-to-sit (The coffee shop is a bit of a dream with two restless kids tugging at the leash).  Almost always the twins end up cranky and so do I. The air-conditioning and the crowd might have something to do with it.

They offer too many choices: 

And that's not a good thing, not for kids. They end up confused and unhappy as they flit from store to store and toy to toy. Either I am waiting endlessly for N who can never decide what she wants or I'm dragging H away because he wants everything.

The kids never have enough: 

No matter how much we shop or how many games they play, there is always that one more thing they want or one last game they need to play.

They encourage mindless consumption:

Even as a rational adult (I hope!) I end up spending more than I intended. I can fully understand how much tougher it would be for the kids. We started off with the one-toy-each-visit rule. However, even that is such a waste. Why should we shop for a toy (even one) if that is not the purpose of our visit to the mall? What's worse, it will probably be lying forgotten within a few hours of reaching home adding to the ever-growing clutter.

They offer nothing new and the kids learn nothing: 

.. other than mindless consumption. After a point malls are just the same. They do not stimulate the kids' minds specially since they outgrew looking under trial room doors!

Mercifully the kids dislike shopping so I just find it easier to leave them home. Somedays I we do make a trip together - when they need to be fitted out for something or when we plan a gaming zone-food court trip. But that remains an occasional treat.

Do you like frequenting malls?

Linking to ABC Wednesday for the letter M. With grateful thanks to Mrs Nesbitt who had this wonderful idea of bringing together bloggers from across the world through ABC Wednesday and to Roger who keeps it going week after week.

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