Five reasons malls are bad for kids

Five reasons malls are bad for kids

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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 here. A 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?
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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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22 Replies to “Five reasons malls are bad for kids”

  1. I agree Tulika. Malls are only about all that Jazz, nothing else. My son absolutely hates them, unless the trip is for buying something for him. Our mall visits happen once in a month or two, and if I have to shop for something specific, I do it alone, instead of tagging the kiddo along.

  2. I am also not a 'mall' person, also because there are no malls (yet!) where I live. But whenever visiting other bigger cities I hardly ever visit a shopping mall, especially never for shopping 🙂 I think you are doing the right thing by discouraging the 'mall-ing' for your children. That's really not a place to healthily stimulate a growing mind, despite all the play zones and what have you in modern malls.

  3. I agree, Malls are tiring, and leave us dissatisfied in the end. I too set some rules and allow my kid 1 toy, even if it is a happy meal toy and limited gaming time. Food and then back home. He can browse all he wants but it gets difficult for me to shop.
    I agree malls are not all that great!
    Too tempting too!!

  4. I would have hated being taken to a mall as a kid (although that one toy promise would have lured me there LOL) and find them soulless places as an adult.

  5. AMEN! I hate malls. My daughter and I used to hang in my single-mom days with other single moms and their kids, because we could take turns watching the kids to get our shopping done… but I soon tired of the consumerism, the numbing of Riley's mind for the sake of my convenience. It was one of the only places where kids would "hang out," and that distressed me. She eventually decided for herself that following mom with a good book in hand was better than becoming a consumer by default. Smart kid! Thanks for saying what is on many parents' minds. Amy

  6. I found it tiring to watch my two year's old granddaughter, because she was exploring all kind of things like your twins did.
    i was afraid that she would be kidnapped or lost . It happens often in my country and is horrible.
    Thanks for your visit!
    Wil, ABCW

  7. Aww, hugs. I know it can be overwhelming. Have you tried talking to them before going and laying down some ground rules? I do that with Gy so now she knows that she won't get anything she asks for. To be fair, she rarely asks for anything, but still, draconian me is playing it safe 😉

    1. I've done ALL of that over and over and over again. It's like there are two people inside the kids – one who nods his/her head sagely when we're having the be-good-at-the-mall conversation and the other one who emerges once we're there. Gy is such a good girl. Hug her for me, will you?

  8. Ahh there was a time when I spent hours and hours in malls..that was when S and I were dating and we had no place to go, we didn't like parks much :)…But now I just want to stay at home!

  9. I do agree with you, even though my children are grown up with children of their own, I still avoid shopping Malls, I do most of my shopping on-line. This way I order exactly what I need,
    Supermarket shopping is so easy and the company I use, the deliverer will carry all my bags straight through the house to the Kitchen…great service!

    best wishes,
    Di.
    ABCW team.

  10. I always feel for the parents who have to handle a stubborn kid standing next to barbie doll section with tears streaming down their face… I agree there's nothing new for children

    1. Then you are exceptionally empathetic. Most people who don't have kids simply look upon a crying child as a nuisance, which he/she is, but the parents are to be sympathised with.

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