The Next Generation of Local Shoppers: Teaching Your Kids to Go Local

fall fest kids This guest post is brought to you by April Atwood of Scott's Marketplace

More than ever, the ‘support local’ message is catching on across America. And as we continue to become better educated regarding the positive economic outcomes of shifting our spending to locally owned businesses, it becomes apparent that these habits need to be preserved within our society.

And luckily for parents, there’s a ready-made audience for teaching the support-local message. Yes, we’re talking about your children. Those crumb-snatching little rascals represent the future of our country, and passing on your sound economic habits is the easiest way to create a generation of local shoppers.

However, as any parent knows, trying to teach your child good habits can be eerily similar to attempting a complicated gymnastics routine with no formal training. So instead of adding this to the list of things to nag your child about, revamping your own habits and employing a ‘show instead of tell’ method can help you get them into the habit of supporting the local community.

1. Take them with you on local shopping outings

As we all know, actions speak louder than words, especially to children. When your finger-biting habit suddenly becomes your kid’s finger-biting habit, this becomes frighteningly obvious. And the same goes for your spending habits. All kids know Target and Chuck-E-Cheese, but how many can name a locally owned store in their area?

Just one look at your own shopping habits will give you an idea of the values you are passing down to your children. Supporting local is a learned behavior, so make it a point to support local with the kids in tow, showing off the diversity and uniqueness of your local business community. This might mean altering your routine to include small businesses for regular items.

2. Visit the farmer’s market regularly

Mary Poppins was right when she said that an element of fun can make any chore seem enticing. And so, instead of going on and on about the various reasons to always choose local first, why not take your kids to the veritable wonderland of local fare that is the farmer’s market. Because they are usually on weekend mornings, you can easily fit in at least one trip a month with the kids. At most markets you’ll find everything from locally grown produce to handmade hats, and a great outpouring of community support.

The farmer’s market also allows for a much more interactive shopping experience. Allowing your children to help you shop at the farmer’s markets can teach sound economic decisions, and hopefully an appreciation for fresh fruits and vegetables. Not only that, but interacting with farmers and merchants will give your kids a sense of connection to the products they are purchasing, an integral bonus to supporting local.

3. Get them involved in the community

Supporting local is more than just where you shop. Becoming a part of the community can lead to lifelong habits. Summertime is the perfect time to engender great local habits in your children, with something as simple as taking part in locally run day camps for kids; visiting children’s author readings at local bookstores; or family outings to a local art walk like Phoenix’s First Friday.

A deep connection with your community usually begins in childhood, and it can last a lifetime if you make the effort to teach your child simple local shopping habits.

AprilApril is the marketing coordinator for Scott’s Marketplace. She combines her marketing and writing experience with a love for supporting small businesses. She writes, bikes, and uses a coffee press, but not in the pretentious way. Connect on Google+.