Radha: "Oh dear, I have not finished my Diwali shopping yet, Purva. I simply cannot decide on what to buy for your dada and dadi!"
Purva: "It's okay Mama, I'll help you. Also, it's your birthday too, next month. I think a beautiful fuchsia pink silk saree will look great on you!'
Radha: "Do you really think so, Purva?"
Purva: "Yes, Mama. You could wear it with a sleeveless blouse in peacock blue with gold embroidery. That will be a lovely look!"
Purva is Radha's 15-year-old daughter. She is very interested in fashion and has a keen sense of aesthetics. So much so that Radha has begun to rely on Purva to help with her own wardrobe choices...
Radha is not alone. Today, more and more parents are increasingly involving children in the purchase-making process. It was not so earlier. Those days, adults used to believe that children weren't informed enough to give an opinion on such matters. However, children today are so much more knowledgeable about products — be it decor, fashion, jewellery, furniture, gadgets (for the home or the kitchen) or even, automobiles! So, just like Purva, most urban children today provide parents with valuable suggestions when it comes to buying something for the house or for the family. And in certain cases, like Radha's, children even take decisions on behalf of their parents.
In many ways, taking decisions together is a wonderful opportunity for the entire family to feel more connected. So, if Radha's example has inspired you to involve your child in purchase-making decisions, then there is no better time to do so, than Diwali. Here is how your child can help you this festive season:
- Buying jewellery: There is a special significance to buying gold or silver jewellery on the day of Dhanteras. It is believed that making such purchases brings good luck to every member of the family and protects them from ill-luck. If your child is old enough or is a teenager, why not follow Radha’s example and involve him in shopping? With online shopping catching up, several jewellers put up promotional offers on their websites. So, ask your child to do some research online to find out the best prices for trendy designs. Or, if you want to visit a reputed jewellery shop in your city, take your teen along. Ask him what he thinks about a particular design and also, tell him what to keep in mind while buying jewellery.
- Selecting a vehicle: While there is never a bad time to buy a vehicle, in India, many families wait for Dhanteras to make the actual purchase. Many people consider it a favourable or lucky occasion to buy a vehicle. As with many other things in our society, a vehicle too is not considered to be the individual owner's possession, but something that belongs to the entire family. Therefore, it's always a good move to involve your child decision-making process. Take her with you to the showroom. You can then ask her opinion about which brand or model to buy. In fact, she can also give her suggestions regarding the colour of the vehicle. Then, go as a family to test-drive the chosen vehicle and then, make a collective decision on this all-important purchase.
- Purchasing home appliances: With Diwali around the corner, there are festival offers aplenty. There are advertisements and discounts on every kind of product to lure potential customers. Be it kitchen appliances, refrigerators, television sets, or washing machines, the purchase of home appliances goes up manifold during this season. Ask your child what he thinks should be purchased when it comes to home appliances. Not only will this make him feel important, it will also help him better understand the needs of the household. When you have decided what you need, head to the store. Once there, ask him to look at products on display and compare the prices of different brands. It will be a good idea to get him to analyse the features of products offered by similar brands so that he can help you make the best possible choice for your home.
- Purchasing clothes and accessories: Diwali is the time when there are several family get-togethers, parties and related functions. Naturally, you want to appear at your best, by buying new clothes and accessories. Ask your child what she would like to wear this Diwali and where she would like to buy it from. If she prefers to shop online, you could both sit with your laptop and decide on an outfit in a design or colour of her choice. Keep a lookout for sales and attractive discounts! But, if your child wants to go to the nearby mall and make the purchase, then everyone can go along. It can be a fun family outing.
- Buying a house: Purchasing a house is a very important decision for a family. Here, it is common practice to look for good deals as well as an auspicious time, to invest in property. During Diwali, realtors put out freebies galore to entice prospective buyers, as Indians consider this a very good time to buy property. As this is not an easy decision, ensure that you involve the entire family, including your child. Do listen to what your child has to say and also, be open with her. Tell her about the locality you are looking at, the number of rooms (will she get a bedroom/play room of her own?) the new house or apartment will have, and how your lives will change once you shift. Also, do not forget to address her fears, if any. A new home means a new neighbourhood. But she will also be going away from all that is familiar. So, point out that she now has the opportunity to make more friends. Reassure her and make her feel involved. Thus, the entire family gets to participate in the decision-making process.
It is important to involve children in the decision-making process because when they grow up, they will need to make decisions for themselves, every day. So, by asking your child for her point of view, you are telling her that she is capable of giving you her opinion. Also, you are giving her a chance to evaluate, analyse and make a well-reasoned choice. Of course, the final decision has to be yours, for instance, you cannot give in to whatever your child says! Have a balanced approach.
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