Shopping and children

Shopping and children 

I have always taken all my children shopping with me. This means at one stage I would do my monthly or weekly shopping with 6 children.

Surprisingly it was not chaos. I managed quite well – alone and I can count on my one hand the times when any of they threw a temper fit or misbehaved while shopping.

Even now, I shop each week with Hamish and our shopping trips are fun, stress free and not at all a problem.

How do I shop with my children?

Here are my secrets….

1. Children have limits.

If you are shopping with your children, be alert to their needs- Are they tired, hungry, overexcited or overstimulated by the noise and confusion, or simply in need of fresh air and exercise, or a reassuring hug?

2. Children are naturally curious.

Children are naturally cucurious.This is how they learn about the world around them. They will want to look at things and touch. I always made time to visit the toy aisle and let them look at the toys. I also pointed out new fruits or in store promotions, this way I was still engaging with them while completing my task and they weren’t bored. Even if an item can not be purchased, it is helpful to share your child’s enthusiasm and interest.

3. Shopping with babies

Shopping with a baby will be far easier if the trip is made after they are well rested and have been fed. Babies are also almost always happier when carried. Use a sling or carrier as these are far more comfort for baby.

4. Shopping with toddlers.

Toddlers can prove to be quite a handful when shopping and you can lessen this by including them in shopping decisions and asking them to help find items, count objects or look for certain shapes, colours, numbers or letters while you shop. This can turn a boring, frustrating experience into a more pleasurable one, for both you and your child.

Bringing along juice, a favorite snack, and a well-loved picture book can also be very helpful.

Placing a toddler in the trolley helps to keep an eye on them as well as keep them safe while you shop.

I would always let Hamish choose a small toy or sweet after we had finished shopping . This encouraged him to sit still.

If your child wants everything off the shelves, get into a habit of taking photos to send to Santa. This really does work.

5. Shopping with older children

An older child can be a great help when shopping.

Take along along clipped-out pictures of food from the newspaper grocery ads, the child can help to locate the item. Children mature enough to shop by themselves can help shorten the trip by finding items alone, returning periodically to put items into the cart.

You can practice maths skills as your child counts, works to a budget or adds up the purchase.

6. Avoid the crowds

Always avoid the crowds if you can. Shopping just before dinner, when stores are crowded, and parents and children are tired and hungry, can be very stressful. Try shopping in the morning or early afternoon on weekdays.

7. The check-out lane can be a challenge

Check-out lanes which have colorful, enticing sweet packages can be a real challenge.

Bringing a favorite healthful snack or offer your child a fruit you are buying can lessen the need of sweets.

You can also involve the child in unpacking the trolley, keeping them distracted from the shelves at the till.

8. When you need to say “no”

There comes a time where as parents we simply have to say No!

As the educator John Holt once said, “There is no reason why we cannot say ‘No’ to children in just as kind a way as we say ‘Yes’.”

Setting strong boundries is important and if you do need to say No! Offer an explanation. Most children respond better to an honest answer of No, we can’t afford it this week or No! You already have two sweets to a stern No! Without a reason.

A reminder

All children behave as well as they are treated. A child who is regularly given our time, undivided attention, patience, guidance and understanding will have more tolerance for a shopping trip than the child without emotional support.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.