.... Tips for an 'Experienced' Mom (and yeah, use experienced loosely lol)
If you don't know, I have 3 girls ages 6, 4, and 1. When we go shopping.... well, its an experience. Whether you are taking your kids, your nieces/nephews, grandkids, etc shopping, the basic rules are the same. I wanted to type this post a few days ago, but decided I'd wait... and then this morning when I knew we had to go to the grocery store, I thought "OH great! (A happy 'oh great' not a 'ug oh great!') I can use my top 5 tips I was going to blog about and then I can tell the readers what/how/ and why they should follow them."
As any 'Experienced' mom will tell you, the best laid plans are just that... plans. Sometimes things don't go according to plan.
So...... Here are my top 5 tips for taking young kids shopping.... and my experience with them today.
(let me preface these by saying that these tips actually do work.. *I* just have to remember to do them. More on that later).
1. Pay the Piper
If you take any child to the store, what do they automatically want? Usually one of 2 things, either a toy or candy. You have to have your game plan on before hand. Are you willing to get them the toy or candy? Is it a reward or something promised? If you tell your child that they are NOT getting a toy, then you need to stand by that.
*I have 2 methods for the toy task.
A) Give them their own money to spend. That way if they want a toy for $25 and they only have $5 they can see WHY they can't have it... not just because Mama is mean. That said, I let them give ME the money because my kid are little so we don't work on sales tax. In their minds, if they have $25 and the price says $25 then they can buy it. So, I let them give me the money that way we don't have to get complicated.
B) Get Toys BEFORE anything else. Most people will wait to get toys until the end. They'll say, "If you're good, I'll get you a __________" I can tell you, from my experience, that doesn't work. If it works for your kids, more power to you! Keep at it :) However, I have found with mine, if I get it first, they are so into it that they are angels the rest of the trip. If we wait, I have to hear "Mama, when can we go to the toys? Can we get it yet, Mama. Mama, can we get it! Mama, is it time to get it yet?" And truth be told, I can't think with that rolling in my ears. So, when I get whatever they are getting first, it is a much nicer, calmer trip (Remember I said that for later.....)
2.) Don't Go During Meal times.
As most parents will tell you, hunger makes kids cranky and cranky kids makes for less that awesome shopping experiences. Gone are the days of pick up and go. Oh, I think I want some ice cream. I think I'll go get some. Um, sorry. You have to make sure everyone is dressed, brushed (both teeth and hair), the bag is packed, shoes are on, extra diaper on hand, and finally out the door. It takes us about 45 minutes to get completely read to leave. Schedule all shopping trips (if possible) around your child's meal times. I think everyone is cranky when they are hungry.
3.) Pack Snacks
So.. you've done everything right. You waited. You prepared. You didn't go until after their lunch... and they are still crabby. Ah yes. The snack monster has risen his ugly head. Sometimes, no matter how much you feed them at a meal they either won't eat it OR they for some reason want a snack (even if they have never asked for one before). I keep snacks in my bag for all 3 girls along with water. That way the 'I'm hungry' monster won't find us.
4). Have a List... and Stick to it
Having a list not only saves you money, but it also saves you time... which is KEY when shopping with little kids. With mine as long as the buggy is moving (or at least only stops for 1-2 seconds at a time) they are fine, but buddy when it stops, they are ready to get down and wander. My kids aren't "bad" kids and they don't even really get into trouble, but they are curious, and they like to look, and sometimes... well that is a bad combination in a store. I go further and break my grocery list down by location in the store. My store has bread first, then fruit/veggies, Dairy, etc. That's how I write my list so I can find exactly what I'm needing and be on my way.
5). Go with the Flow
Sometimes you can do everything you are supposed to do. You've fed, watered, cleaned, everything... and your child is still cranky or whiny or throws a fit in the store. That's the wild card of having a kid. Usually if one of mine does that, I take their hand, ignore the tantrum, and lead them through the store... and if people look... so be it. When I say, "No." that's what I mean, and no amount of whining or crying is going to change my mind... actually when we get to tantrum phase, I've decided I'm really NOT going to get it lol. It's absolutely not fun to be 'that parent' in the store with 'that kid'. I dare say that if that has happened to you... then you are NOT alone! We've all been there. Guess what? It's part of it. We do our best and we go on.
Now, I want to tell you about my shopping trip today. Like I said, these 5 rules actually do work--- if you think to do them (Who, ME? Forget?? ).
I planned our trip for after Breakfast so everyone would be full. We had 2 stores to go to, and I knew it would be a long day. I got the oldest 2 ready. Had already fed the baby.. when she started crying. Yeap, she was still hungry and wanted more breakfast. So I gave her some, got her ready and off we headed on our way.
Everything went great at the first store. I remembered my 'rules'. Everything was hunky doory.
We got to the second store.
First, I broke rule #1.
I had promised them finger paints. Did I get them first? Nope. I was too busy trying to get some more groceries. And what did I hear? "Mama, when can we get the finger paints? Mama, is it time yet?" I don't know about you, but that grates my nerves sometimes. They weren't yelling or anything. They were pretty well behaved, but if someone asks the same question 50 times right after the other, it can make you start to forget everything you were there for lol
I broke rule #2. We had been out so long that not only were we late for lunch, but the baby was really wanting a Bottle. Which she decided to ask for right in checkout, loudly, and clearly. She got it when we got in the car.
I broke rule #4. I had a list. It was a great list. Do you know what I did with my list? I put it back in my pocket and didn't get it back out. I don't know what I was thinking, but I ended up forgetting cough medicine for me and a paper. 2 things I really kinda wanted. Thankfully, I remembered everything for the girls (funny how that happens...)
See... the point of this is that you can have the best plans-- be an experienced mom-- and sometimes, things don't go the way you needed/wanted it too. My top 5 tips DO help (well, they help mine anyway. I hope they help yours). However, some days... you just have to go with the flow. Laugh at yourself. Love your kids... and move on.
Do you have any awesome tips that work for your family? Please leave a comment below and share.
Much Love... remember the last quest of the summer is due Saturday!!!