While many children enjoy the idea of any outing at all, including shopping expeditions, others look upon shopping as an uninteresting chore and not something enjoyable. Also many children get tired, fussy and cranky on the longer shopping expeditions so here are some tips that will help you keep your sanity when you’re out shopping with kids.
1. Have a plan
The parent has to be careful to make the shopping trip purposeful. Make a list of things that are to be got, chalk out a rough itinerary of where you have to go, how long each job will take and then try to keep to the plan.
Try not to wander around window shopping and waffling, this can get kids physically tired and bored – remember the word ‘Sale’ that causes adult eyes to start gleaming usually means nothing to small children.
2. Make the agenda clear
Once you decide all that needs to get done on the shopping trip, explain the agenda to your child. Explain that this is what you’re going to get and that there is no budgeting of time or money for extra stuff. Make it clear to the child that demands for toys will not be entertained and that visits to certain stores is not possible at least this time.
3. Lay the ground rules
Speak seriously with the child about safety issues and tell them that they are to be near you at all times and never be out of sight or wander away for any reason. Making sure your child understands this will give you peace of mind while shopping.
4. Dangle the carrot
Though you should clarify that the child should not be making unreasonable demands and asking for useless purchases, make sure that there is something in the shopping trip for the child as well. Give the trip a buildup – explain that it’s going to be a fun outing for you and the child.
You can promise the child a small item for him or herself – some new stationery for school or a new craft or hobby set and so on. Or you can tell the child that as soon as all the shopping is done you can head to the food court for some tasty treats. After all, all the shopping can make kids hungry as well.
5. Pick the time with care
Try and pick a suitable time for the shopping expedition – ideally the child should be well rested and should be hungry or thirsty. If possible pick time when he or she is in a favorable mood – they may be less cooperative if dragged away from a favorite TV show or from playtime.
6. Let the child help
Involving the child and letting them feel as though they are an important part of the shopping can go a long way in making the experience enjoyable for the child. The child can help pick out things at the supermarket; particularly things such as their favorite cereal, their own toothbrush with their favorite cartoon character and so on.
Also involve the child in figuring out the best purchase to make – read labels, compare prices, tot up the discounts – discussing all this is not just keeping the child involved it is also furthering his or her education.