Yesterday I went grocery shopping with my kids after karate and after seeing a few screaming, running around the cart kids with extremely stressed parents, realized how far my kids have come! I only have 2 kids but when they were smaller taking them any kind of shopping was like shopping with the devil! Literally! Like they were doing everything on purpose to see how far they could go before mom would go over the edge of sanity and lose it! I had been known to leave my shopping cart filled with groceries at the store apologizing to the clerks because I was leaving but I was at the edge and no one was talking me off.
So coming to this realization yesterday made me think of how we got this way. Even though I only have 2 kids, now that I know the mistakes I made from the beginning I’m sure I could handle more kids. (not that I want to, that’s why I’m fixed) And I know we are all looking at those parents whose kids aren’t just driving them crazy but everyone else too!
Here’s the few things I have incorporated into shopping that helps me with my kids.
1. One kid on each side of the cart (holding on)- Unless they are too small to walk then they are inside but mine are not. One is on each side of the cart and holding on. I’m big about the holding on part! This way they feel like they are helping you drive the cart (because they all want to) and you can keep your eyes on them much easier. You know exactly where they are! On “their” side of the cart! If I had a third they would be close to the front of the cart but still holding on. Sometimes that’s where Levi prefers to be anyways.
2. Let them help you- I let them help me choose which ones (brands) to get. This or that. They get to grab the items and put them in my cart, taking turns of course. Sometimes there’s a short squabble but it’s easily rectified by telling them they won’t be able to help me anymore. They want to help. You make them feel important by including them.
3. They pick their own snacks-This one has been huge! Just knowing they have cart blanch in the snack department makes them be good. My kids are snack junkies. They can’t pick out 10 snacks each. If it’s the big shopping day they pick 2 each and then usually share them anyways.
4. Explain what you expect or what you’re getting before getting out of the car- Sometimes our shopping trips are only for animal feed, in which case I’m not walking around, I’m getting what I need and I’m leaving. When they know this ahead of time they don’t look around or ask for anything. They are just with me. If they know it’s a big trip they know if they’re good they “might” get a soda or a piece of candy or nothing at all← (It’s usually that one) but they are still good knowing maybe it will happen. I don’t tell them anything though until right before we get out of the car. They won’t remember if I tell them when I leave my house or while I’m driving. This way I have their full attention.
5. Make a list- I always have a prepared list before I go shopping. It makes it easier for me. It makes the trip faster for everyone and then if you have older kids they can help when you are in the correct isles.
I do these things every time we go shopping. Plus we hold hands from the car to the store. There’s no running around like little crazy people hopped up on sugar!
Shopping has been a breeze since doing these and I recommend that if you’re having a hard time shopping with your little ones try incorporating something similar into your shopping routine. We need those groceries and we need our sanity!