Going shopping with young toddlers these days is an arduous and painstaking process. There are the carseats until they are 8 years old, in which everyone has to be buckled, the 2 hour plus long trips through megastores like Wal Mart and Target. No matter how good of a mood everyone is in when you start out, by the time you are finished, you are wrestling the wailing toddler and praying for sanity. Some people may be able to take both parents or have the one parent who is not taking care of the kids do the bulk of the shopping. Because my husband is often putting in 12 hour days, I am usually on my own when I shop.This is how I manage it.
When my 3 kids ( 3 and under) were able to say basic phrases, we began a mantra before we went in the stores and while we went through the stores, which I still use now for a reminder at times. “DON’T TOUCH THE STUFF, STAY WITH MOMMY, DON’T HIDE IN THE CLOTHES, AND DON’T PICK YOUR NOSE.” We would chant this through the store, remind them when they reach out to touch that towering stack of canned goods, when they ran ahead of Mommy, you name it. It covers the basic principles of store shopping, except for the picking the nose, that we tacked on for certain children. Once my oldest 4 were trained, the other 3 followed most of what their brother and sisters did, with occasional reminders.
But what about boys? My oldest son, would race through the store as I was beginning to shop and before I could say“ stay with mommy” he was off. Here is what I did with him. I had to pick up bread and milk once, and my husband was able to stay home with the others, so I took him through the store, and before putting him down ( he was 3) I told him he had to hold onto the side of the cart and not let go. I helped hold his hand onto the cart for the first aisle.We practiced that reminding him up and down the aisles all the way through the store. After that, he did much better and remained holding onto the cart probably until he was 4 or 4 ½ and could control his ability to stay with me.
The last thing I do is look constantly around me , probably every 30 seconds while moving to make sure that all my kids are still with me, especially when I turn a corner, or pass the toy section ( or something incredibly interesting) then I check every 10 seconds until we pass the distracting area. We also do our bulk grocery shopping once a month. For a great tutorial and awesome grocery list visit this blog: https://www.raisingarrows.net/2008/08/once-a-month-shopping/ .
Are we perfect? No. Do I let my kids sit and touch the toys in the checkout area, knowing they have the full knowledge that they will never get anything, but it keeps them quiet while I unload a month’s worth of groceries with my kid’s help onto the conveyor belt? Yes I do. ( Except for the one time when the toddler walked off with candy and we came back and bought it because he was already eating it). Parenting is NOT easy! And toting 7 children 10 and under into 6 hours worth of shopping and 7 stops is not a picnic, but it can be done!
Janelle is a homeschooling mom to 4 of her 7 kids. She loves encouraging other moms in the overwhelming world of parenting and homeschooling! Her kids make her laugh and shake her head in horror on a daily basis! She uses her Norwex business to help them clean up the messes they leave behind!
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