My favourite way to shop with kids is online, with the kids playing in the other room. Unfortunately, I can’t always do it that way. Sometimes the kids’ feet seem to grow overnight and I don’t know what size shoes to buy them unless I take to the shop with me. Or I forget to order groceries on time for dinner. For those occasions, I have some tips to make trips to the shop as stress-free as possible.
Choose your timing
It’s best to go when the kids have eaten, are happy and well-rested. If it’s one hour until the start of their bed-time routine, it’s probably a better idea to order take-away than go out to get the missing ingredients for the delicious meal you’ve planned.
Explain to your kid where you’re going and what you’re buying. Kids will be more willing to cooperate if they know what’s happening in advance.
Allow extra time
It might only take you 15 minutes to pop out to the shops and back by yourself, but with kids everything takes at least twice as long.
Bring water bottles, snacks and jackets
You probably won’t need them, but if you leave the house without these items, your kids will ask for them before you even manage to get to the car.
Have a shopping list
A list will help you get what you need quicker. It’ll also help you avoid the aisles where your kids are most likely to get distracted and start playing up.
Get the kids involved
At the shop, ask your kids to help you get the items you need. If you have some spare time, you can even prepare personalised shopping lists (with pictures for those who can’t read yet).
Your child will behave better if she’s entertained. Talk to her while you’re shopping, sing or play games. ‘I spy’ is a perfect game for shopping trips.
Use the self checkouts
Let you kids scan the items and insert the money. They love it and it gives them something to look forward to at the end of the trip. Be prepared to tolerate some mistakes and ask for assistance. Of course, only do it when you don’t have tons of groceries.
Your kids will want to play, ask lots of questions and get distracted. If you’re in a bad mood already and don’t feel like you’ve got lots of patience, either take a few minutes for yourself before you go or leave the trip for another time.
Your child can only take so much of any adult activity and shopping is no exception. If there’s shopping to be done from a few different shops, break it up. Have a play in between or leave some of the shopping for the next day.
Image by U. S. Department of Agriculture via Flickr.com