I absolutely love taking my kids shopping, no really I do. I never understood why people seem to dread it so much. Both of my girls love to chat to the other people in the shops and choose what different fruits we will get that day and all sorts of other things. Last week however I understood. Due to the Easter long weekend I ended up having to squeeze in a late afternoon shopping trip as we had people coming over the next day. We had tantrums, refusal to sit in the trolley followed by refusal to walk and needing to be carried as well as constant requests for drinks, snacks etc. I was ready to pull my hair out. When I got home I tried to work out what has gone so very wrong. It dawned on me that I usually plan shopping for certain times of day for very good reasons which I will outline now.
1) Plan to go shopping straight after a meal or if you can’t do that have adequate snacks on hand. My girls get a multigrain roll each from the bakery section as their shopping treat to eat on the way around.
2) Try to avoid times you know your child is tired, I aim for morning usually or if not straight after sleep time.
3) Pick quieter times. If you can, shop when it is quieter and you can be done quickly.
4) Take a couple of toys, ideally nothing too important in case it gets lost. For younger children clip on pram toys work well.
5) Involve them in the process, get them to hold the list or make the choice between 2 items, and just make sure both choices are acceptable for you. Older children may enjoy counting items or choosing colours.
6) Talk to them, let them know what you are doing and why, even with young babies this can keep them interested and less likely to act out.
8) Go with a friend, the distraction of other people can work very well (as can the spare pair of hands!)
9) Reward desirable behaviour. When the girls behave particularly well we will stop for a milkshake on the way out.
What are your top tips for making shopping with children a positive experience?