Isn’t it fun going grocery shopping with your children? If you’re like most other parents, you have answered an emphatic “NO!” to this question. Here are some suggestions on how to make shopping a more pleasant experience for all.
1. Be proactive and plan for success. Make sure that your children are fed, toiletted, rested or not ill before embarking on a shopping trip. Any one of these things not addressed can turn a shopping trip into a nightmare.
2. Have a ritual, something that you always do after shopping, like going for a hot chocolate. Don’t use this as a bribe, however. Instead tell your children, “When we are done shopping we will go for our hot chocolate.” The implication is there that says, “If we don’t finish, no hot chocolate.” as there are days when you will have to abandon shopping because it’s just not going to work. Then the hot chocolate gets skipped too. Yes, there may be tears and shouts of disappointments but stay calm. They will pass and then you can explain why the shopping trip had to end and how there could be no hot chocolate because you never finished shopping.
3. Go to the stores that have those mini shopping carts that the children can push around.
4. Give the children certain things that they need to find from your shopping list to keep them engaged.
5. Ask the children to bring an activity that they can do while sitting in the shopping cart.
6. Keep the trips short. It’s better for your sanity to make 3 short trips a week than 1 long trip.
7. Remember to let your child know how you appreciate that you were able to get your shopping done. Tell them specifically what they did that was helpful.