How to help your child deal with disappointment (or, How to say no to buying every showbag they want at Ekka!)

So Ekka time is here, and there appear to be 396 showbag options! How do you navigate having a great family day out, without meltdowns, when your children will not get to buy everything, eat everything and/or go on every ride?!

1.             Plan ahead

Agree limits before you go, maybe look at the Ekka website and have every member of the family pick the one thing that they most want to see, do or get. Set a reasonable budget for the overall day and work out how much ‘allowance’ everyone has to spend on their favourite things. This can include a time allowance per person, if everyone has different ‘must see / must do’ activities.

2.             Acknowledge your child’s feelings

If the budget and / or time doesn’t all miraculously balance, and there is disappointment, the most important thing to do for your child is to listen and acknowledge, for example:

  • I can see you are disappointed, and it’s okay to feel that way. (if necessary, add on ‘but it’s not ok to yell at me / throw / hit’ etc.)

  • It’s upsetting when we don’t get everything we would like.

  • Can you tell me what’s most upsetting you, and maybe we can work out a better plan for how you can spend the money you do have. Maybe I can help you keep track so you don’t miss out on something you really want.

3.             Walk the talk

Children learn a lot more from what you do than from what you say. Show your kids that you’re sticking to the same rules as them; get them to help you pick ‘your’ showbag (even if you all know that you’ll be sharing it with them anyway!)

4.             Wishing versus having

Not all disappointments are forever. Maybe you were not able to do everything that everyone wanted, so talk to your kids about everyone saving up pocket money or doing chores to earn extra money for the next family outing. Try a brainstorming session with your child to see what other solutions you both can come up with. Help them understand that things will not always happen just the way they want them to, or just because they want them to. Sometimes they can play a big part in getting what they want by working at it, and sometimes they will have to accept and appreciate things as they are.

5.             Get a good night’s sleep!

Make sure everyone is well rested before you hit the Ekka, plan your journey, pack all the essentials of sunscreen, hats etc, then enjoy a wonderful day out!

And of course, while timely for Ekka, these tips can be applied to all sorts of situations. And if you have any pro tips on how to get the most out of a trip to the Ekka, please share.