Kids A La Cart: Shopping with Company

December 12, 2011 at 12:04 | Posted in ALEX Toys, Family Time, Mamma Mia Rea | Leave a comment

There’s an art to shopping with kids. Somehow, you have to get what you need while fielding requests for one shiny/sugary/overpriced thing or another, making sure everyone stays with the traveling party and preventing a throw-down temper tantrum in the middle of the action (sometimes, you’ll be the one throwing it). After four kids, I’d like to think it’s an art I’ve mastered; those maniacs running through the grocery store on Supermarket Sweep ain’t got nothing on me.

Personally, I prefer to take only one kid with me on errands if I can, but that’s a luxury I don’t always get. When I’ve got all four in tow, I go by the credo, fail to plan, plan to fail. Depending on where you’re going, it’s always good to have a game plan to avoid any trouble spots along the way. Here are just a few ideas:

Bribery. I’m not above it. I start the beginning of the trip by having my children pick a special treat they would like for behaving themselves while they’re out. Depending on where we’re going, it can be as simple as a roll of stickers to a trip to the ice cream store when we have multiple stops to make.

Distraction, not rejection. Avoid having to say “No” every 30 seconds by having your children bring something along that will keep them occupied. Small toys and snacks are great for the smaller ones (especially in the grocery, when they want a bite of everything you put in the cart), and the older ones can be designated “Shopping Captains”, being in charge of the grocery list, helping you find what you need, and even asking store professionals where to locate what you’re looking for. They don’t know it, but they’re getting language arts reinforcement while building interpersonal skills.

Pace Yourself. When you’re running errands with kids, there’s a good chance you won’t get everything done. Don’t sweat it; it will all get done eventually. Consider trips out quality time with your kids, even when you’re bustling from here to there. It’s a lot more fun when Mom isn’t stressed out and rushing everyone, or worse, losing her cool in public. Plus, it will teach them to handle life with calm and balance, just like you do.

Happy Shopping!

Do you have any tips for successful errand running with kids?

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