Shopping with kids can be an enjoyable experience - or it can be an utter disaster. Taking some simple steps can help ensure that shopping with one or more children goes as best as it can.
Timing is Everything
Be aware of your children's schedule and needs before you take off shopping. For example, don't take a toddler to a busy store during naptime or a hungry teenager for a "quick" trip to the grocery store. And, moms shouldn't forget their own needs. Moms who haven't gotten a full night's sleep or eaten breakfast might not have enough emotional energy to handle a screaming toddler or cranky teen.
A Full Belly Goes a Long Way
Don't go shopping hungry, and don't take your kids shopping when their belly is grumbling. Children have a hard enough time following directions, paying attention and controlling their shopping excitement without having to ignore hunger pains. Plan your trip around mealtimes, bring along a snack or two, or be prepared to schedule a stop at a restaurant.
Mean What You Say
Clear directions with set limits are everything, particularly when shopping with more than one child. For example, "don't run through the parking lot" isn't nearly as definitive as "keep your hand on the car until I say so" - and keeping the hand on the car gives older children something to do (and be successful at) while moms get younger children out of their carseats.
Patience Really is a Virtue
Perhaps a quick stop at the grocery store is needed for that last, missing item for dinner? Your child may have a different idea of time than you do. Allocate time for a quick stop in the toy aisle or to gaze at the yummy bakery treats and tell your child how long that stop will be beforehand. Warnings administered before entering the store let a child know not to expect to spend lots of time in the toy aisle.
Know Your Child’s Limits – and Your Own
Today’s schedule calls for a stop at the toy store to buy a present for your nephew on the way home from getting your child from preschool. What are the odds that your child is going to request at least one present in the store? Are you mentally prepared to say no and to handle your child’s reaction? Develop strategies to proactively handle the situation as much as possible. For example, I always ask my children (once they’re old enough to understand) if they’ve bought their money along because, if so, they can buy the toy with their money since I won’t be buying it with my money.
Humor is Essential
Let’s face it: A mom could do everything right only to have her child come up with something – anything - that defies parenting experts, pits a child’s will against a mother’s will, and throws any semblence of sanity out the window. These are the moments that call for Moms to pull out their asolute best parenting tactics – and a bit of humor.