You begin with the infant who starts screaming as you cross the first item off your twenty-item list. From there you progress to the toddler who wants nothing to do with being restrained in a cart, to the potty-training one who needs to make two mad dashes to the bathroom in a twenty minute span when you’re in the store with the dirtiest restrooms in town.
None of this even covers the small revolution you encounter when you refuse to buy them something they feel they must have, the sibling knock-down, drag outs in the middle of the store, or the unexpected loud comments about the person standing directly behind you in the checkout line.
What worked for me when shopping with two little ones? Grocery shopping late at night or very early in the morning when my husband was at home with the kids, or, at a little later stage, a special treat of a blowpop or tootsie roll pop which could buy me about fifteen minutes of peace (albeit with a sticky ending).
So this mannerly Monday, let’s consider the manners we can teach our children to help them have self-control while out shopping. Prior to leaving the house on errands, I would usually try to discuss and practice the rules I wanted the girls to remember.
1) Look with your eyes, not with your hands. We have yet to conquer this one completely, but it’s an important one.
2) Stay close by your parent at all times. Try to stand still and wait patiently and quietly.
3) Never run in a store. If you should knock something over, put it back where it goes. If something breaks, let a store employee know right away.
4) Watch out for others whether walking or pushing a cart. Be sure to say “excuse me” if you reach or walk in front of someone to get an item.
5) After shopping, return your cart to the front of the store or to the appropriate parking lot stall.
I am sure some mothers have great ideas for making shopping with children a pleasurable experience. I’ve heard of moms who involve their small children with choosing items off of the shelf and finding ways for them to “help” throughout the trip. With plenty of time and only one little one, I think that might have been fun; however, I tended to have more of the mindset of dashing through the store as quickly as possible.
I do have to say that it has become easier as the girls have gotten older. They are now able to push the cart if the aisles aren’t too crowded and get familiar items off the shelf. If I’m shopping for something for them or someone they know, they’re interested in what I’m purchasing. If I’m shopping for myself, they’re a little more easily entertained by things like letting them play with the calculator on my cell phone while I try on clothes in the dressing room.
If you have special rules you use with your children when shopping, or ideas for passing shopping time pleasantly, please share in the comments section.
photo courtesy publicdomainpictures.net