Shopping with children has its challenges. And while you may prefer leaving the children home with a parent or other adult, sometimes, you have to go to the store with them in tow. Shopping with older children may not be as challenging, but if you have toddlers or younger kids, every trip to the store can be an unexpected adventure. Here are seven of the best tips for shopping with children
1. Remember They Have Limits
When shopping with children, remember they have limits. Whereas an adult can spend hours at a store, children typically get angsty after a short time. And if they're tired, there's a greater chance that they’ll act up and make the trip an unpleasant experience.
2. Give Them a Heads up
Give older children a heads up before going to the store. My mother used this method and it actually worked. Before going to the store, we knew whether we were allowed to choose an item, as well as the amount we could spend. And on days when we couldn’t indulge, she told us not to ask for anything in the store. This technique might not work depending on the child, but it's worth a shot.
3. Get Your Kids Involved
Some children act up when bored. If shopping with your children, get them involved in the process. For example, you can give your child the shopping list and have him mark off items. I've also seen parents give children a calculator so that they can add up the cost of items. It’s a simple way to keep them occupied.
4. Bring Snacks
This is probably a no-brainer for parents, especially if planning a long shopping trip. But if you're babysitting your nieces or nephews, remember to bring snacks. Something as simple as crackers, fruit or cookies can quickly calm an angsty child. And when grocery shopping, a snacking child is less likely to ask for a bunch of stuff.
5. Time the Trip Well
It’s important that you time the trip well. The idea is to get in and get out quickly. Therefore, you might try and shop during less busy times, such as in the mornings or during the weekdays. Understandably, this isn't always an option, especially if you work during the day. But if you can hit the store when there are less crowds and shorter lines, you might get through the shopping trip without a meltdown.
6. Bring a List
When shopping with kids, constant disruptions might result in forgetting why you came to the store. Whether you’re grocery shopping or buying school clothes, always shop with a list. You can keep a clear idea of what you need, and you’re less likely to buy items that you don't need.
7. Say ‘no’
Saying yes every time your kid asks for something might avert a meltdown in the store. But if you get into the habit of saying no, your child will eventually learn that he can't toss any and everything into the cart. Besides, learning how to say no can even decrease your total shopping bill.
As someone who shops with children, I know the challenges firsthand. But I also know that a trip to the store doesn't have to be a stressful experience. What are other tips for shopping with children?