How to Grocery Shop with Kids

Posted by in No-Cry Discipline

“I go shopping a couple times a week, and I have to take my child with me. He hates to go and so he usually ends up begging for candy and then fussing, crying or having a tantrum in the store. Is there any want to fix this?”

Often it’s not shopping that little kids object to, but the stressful, business-like approach that parents adopt when running errands. In addition to that, many adult events are uninteresting to children, and the length of most shopping excursions tends to exceed a child’s limited amount of patience.

What to do

View shopping trips as an event rather than an errand. This is a great time to achieve two things at once: get your shopping done and have some quality time with your child. If you are a busy, multi-tasking parent you’ll find this mindset helps you have a more patient, pleasant attitude, which will easily rub off on your child.

Plan more time to shop.

When you are not in a rush, you and your child will be more relaxed and have a more pleasant time. If you must hurry, make a list in advance and stick to it. Roaming the store for random purchases makes it a much longer trip.

Engage your child.

Most children love to be helpers at the store. They can carry things to the car, choose produce and find items on the shelves. Children who can read might enjoy having their own short list of items to find.

Ask your kid for input.

When you can, pick two similar items ask your child which one you should buy. Having a say in what you put in the cart is very exciting and empowering for children.

Acknowledge your child’s desires.

“Yummy. Those cookies do look good.” Follow this with a statement of why you’ll not be buying it, without sounding reproving, such as, “But we’re not buying any cookies today.” Then jump in with a distraction: “Can you help me pick out three red apples and four bananas?”

Create a written or an imaginary wish list.

Whenever your child says, “I want this” tell them that you will remember that and then jot it down on paper or a saved phone note and call it the wish list.

Great for pinning!

Prevent the constant gimmees.

Let your child know in advance what you will or will not be buying that day before you enter the store. If you can allow them to choose one treat to put in the basket each time you shop they will know not to ask for an endless list of things. Having to decide on one thing also gives a purpose to the trip.

Have consistent rules.

If you shop frequently it will help to write out the top three or four shopping rules and put the note card in the car, such as “Use inside voice. Walk next to Mommy.” Review the rules each time before you shop.

Don’t take a hungry child food shopping.

You might not intentionally plan this, but it happens. If it has been an hour or two since your child last ate, the first item on your list should be a snack your child can eat as you shop. A box of crackers, a bag of pretzels or a corn dog can work wonders to take the edge off. (Just remember to pay for it – even if it’s an empty bag.)

Don’t take a tired child shopping.

Avoid scheduling shopping trips too close to nap time. Tired children are absolutely fussier and more impatient.

Don’t shop at the store’s busiest hours.

When possible, schedule your shopping times to avoid the biggest crowds. More people in the store mean longer lines and more complications. A quiet, less-populated store will also help you feel less stressed. A cashier or manager can recommend good shopping times.

Ideas from The No-Cry Discipline Solution

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