I've been doing this parenting thing for a few years now, and I'm getting pretty proficient at it (if I do say so my damn self).
Now, I don't claim to be as good as everybody. Certainly I'm not as good as my own parents, but then few are.
But as far as I know, all of my children still live under my roof, and most of them still have most of their digits (which is more than I can say for myself). None of them have intentionally set fire to anything (that I know of) and we don't seem to be having any Mountain Dew Mouth trouble as of yet.
What I'm trying to say is that, so far things are going as well as can be expected, and I've picked up a few tips and tricks along the way.
The one I like to highlight today is one that many marketing and advertising professionals use all the time. It's about product positioning, and I'll illustrate it with this quick anecdote.
Our two-year-old is in a finicky stage. There are only a couple of foods she'll eat, and since I'm in charge of breakfast on a daily basis, this sometimes irritates the crap out of me. I mean, I'll go to all the work of preparing a delicious bowl of instant oatmeal only to have a budding food snob turn her nose up at it.
So I've been trying different breakfast items to see what works. At the super market the other day I picked up a box of Kix cereal, reasonably healthy because it doesn't have added sugar (which is toxic, by the way). Yesterday, I poured a few of he corn-based pellets into a bowl and set it in front of her for breakfast.
Of course, she would have none of it. One look at the pile of cereal and she handed me a stink eye along with a sharp "No! I want yogurt!"
Now I know most of you don't put up with this kind of attitude from a two-year-old, and you shouldn't. I don't either. I made sure to get an apology before providing a bowl of plain vanilla yogurt, her favorite. But knowing that a key to getting you're little house apes to eat different foods is just getting them to try them, I came back a few minutes later with a small handful of Kix in my hand.
I made sure she was watching when I popped a couple in my mouth and made the "Mmmmmm!" sound and said "Wow, these tiny little cookies are delicious!"
Key piece of information here: The girls is very familiar with the concept of cookies. She's tried them. She love's them. She would probably exist (for a few short years before dying of childhood diabetes) solely on them if we let her.
And of course, the mention of "cookies" got her attention. She tentatively took one of the little round pellets from my hand and popped it in her mouth. Then she grabbed the rest and ate them all. Next thing you know, she's going back to that bowl of the "cookies" and chowing down.
You see, it's all about Placement. Big Cereal does this all the time, using cartoon characters and high fructose corn syrup to get children to eat toxic substances.
As a parent, I'm just flipping the script on them. Using the same kind of marketing tactics to trick my kids into eating something less unhealthy.
And that's, one to grow on…
tagged: parenting, marketing, food, KIX, breakfast, kids