Our theme week this week is an easy one for me. I don’t go shopping with all the kids anymore. I prefer to go on a weeknight, after the kids are in bed. I find that the stores are usually pretty empty, the roads don’t have traffic, and the checkers are more friendly. Sometimes, if it’s not too late, I’ll take one or two of the older children. They enjoy the special trip, and are, for the most part, helpful. If I have to, I’ll go on Saturday morning, but I really try to avoid that–it’s just too busy.
When I had younger kids, though, I would take them all shopping. Some of the strategies that really helped me were:
-going in the morning, when the kids are in better moods and more likely to be obedient.
-having a pep talk in the car about behavior in the store. Asking questions like, “Will you touch food on the shelves without asking? Will you ask for candy at the checkout? Will you run away from me?” Getting us all on the same page before walking into the store helped immensely. Then I could remind them of our chat when they acted out.
-not being afraid to discipline in the car for bad behavior in the store. Unless the kids were really small, I found that they had no trouble remembering their behavior to be disciplined for it.
-not being afraid to leave a cart full of groceries and walk out of a store. I actually never had to do this, through I’m sure there were a few instances where I should’ve.
And, last but not least: my super-shopping-secret: I would give my kids suckers to munch on for our grocery store trip. It totally worked. Having a toddler sitting still in the cart, eating his candy, would allow me to move quickly through the store and get the things I needed. Usually, it would last all the way up to the check-out. And my kids looked forward to grocery store trips because they knew they’d get candy. Win-win. Just remember to have wipes in the diaper bag for sticky hands.
How do you shop with kids?