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Shopping with kids

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We all know the well honed phrase, ‘Never work with animals and children’. For my friend Dave, the more familiar line is ‘NEVER go shopping with kids!’ Apparently he just can’t cope with stress, whereas wife Ange, he says, is a ‘dab hand’! So what does Ange achieve that Dave just can’t fathom? How does she make her 3 year old sit in the shopping trolley all the way around the isles? And most importantly how does she cope with the disparaging looks from smug onlookers when a tantrum from her little one arrives from absolutely nowhere? Here’s our guide to help survive the eternal quest of the mighty weekly shop.

Work your audience

The reality is, kids just don’t have the same amount of patience parents have whilst shopping, so they get bored and this can lead to frustration and tears. Tears mean it can turn in to a performance that many people find irritating yet fascinating; particularly when the screams turn to blood curdle! So what do you do with the judgmental strangers? We highly recommend you simply ignore them; after all you are just trolleys passing in the isles. In the event that you feel you simply HAVE to say something, try something along the lines of, “I know it’s a racket, but honestly we’re ok!” or “Kids!  Don’t you just love em!” That tells them, “I know my child is having a tantrum but trust me, I have got this under control.”

Teach good behavior

As you know, children need to be taught new skills to learn how to get what they want. In a lot of ways, a 3-year-old is still a baby. When they get upset because they can’t get what they want, their emotions can overwhelm and that’s when their fear turns into a full scale tantrum. To avoid this, either be willing to entertain as you shop, or simply leave them at home. For a massive food shop, the latter is definitely preferable. Use this to start the teaching process. When they cry, “I want to come!” It’s your opportunity to let them know, “I can only shop with little ones that stay by mummy’s side and don’t cry! Next time you can come.”

Don’t bail mid trip!

shopping with kidsEven if your child tantrums right in the middle of your shopping, don’t abandon it. If you’re going to use the trip for teaching purposes, make sure you have plenty of time and don’t actually need anything. If your child begins to tantrum, leave the shopping in the trolley and take your child outside. When the screaming subsides ask calmly, “shall we try that again?” You don’t need any further dialogue. Remember, words don’t teach, experience does!

It’s important that you don’t leave the supermarket all together at this point because you will change the lesson from a teaching moment to showing them who really holds the power – your child. They’ll come to the conclusion, “I’m powerful—I made mummy mad and leave the store”.

Eat before you go!

Sounds a bit obvious maybe, but this one is vital for a good mood round the supermarket! If both of you eat a healthy snack before going shopping things will go much smoother.

Give some power

To keep a good balance, allow your child to push a kid’s trolley or have a baby basket. Involve your little one in the shop and get one thing you need from a low shelf. Remember boredom can be a large contributing factor to supermarket meltdown!

Make it fun!

Another way to keep the boredom away is to play a game. Eye spy can be used to really make things fun and to help with colours and remembering names of fruit and veggies.

The most important thing to remember is to build on what you’ve achieved each week. It may not be an overnight success but each time you stick to your guns you are establishing the ‘shopping routine’. Teach your child what is expected at EVERY shopping trip and you will see that eventually shopping is fun for everyone.




About Libby Taylor

About Libby Taylor

"Libby is an experienced writer of radio and internet copy. A practicing buddhist for over 15 years, and a lover of good food, fashion and self help books, Libby loves to write about everything and anything, always with the intention of entertainment and surprise!"

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