Shopping with your toddler

*Shopping with toddlers….you must be joking!*

I really don’t mind grocery shopping…..unless I have 2 small children in tow! How do you read a shopping list, check for the cheapest option, weigh up specials, read the ingredient lists, pack the heavy items at the bottom, remember to weigh your fruit and veg, add the fridge items last – all while there is a wrestling match at your feet, your trolley is being charged in the direction of an unsuspecting granny and 10 packets of imported chocolate biscuits are being thrown on top of your eggs! “Keep Calm and RUN” would be my gut reaction, however, being that I love my boys and realise that my family cannot survive on marmite sandwiches alone I must bravely fight on.

How do you manage shopping trips? I see some of you with your “angel children” sitting quietly in your trolleys as you amble through the aisles. And, more often, I see other somewhat harassed mommies (and daddies) dragging themselves and their young ones through a “let’s just get what we absolutely cannot do without for the next 2 days” kind of a shopping trip. I have had some amazingly pleasant, even fun, trips with my boys and I try to pinpoint what was different about them, in the hope of repetition! There are definitely some common threads that I try to incorporate, with which we have varying successes! Here are some ideas to try:

1)            Play “shop shop” at home; with baskets, toy food (or real) and very important – their very own shopping list (in pictures if necessary). When it’s time for the real shopping trip, give them their own list and let them help to find those items. Praise his helpfulness so that there is loads of positive reinforcement for the kind of behaviour you appreciate.

2)            If you have forgotten their list, grab a flyer of the in store specials on your way into the shop. See if your little shopper can spot the items and cross them out or circle them as you go.

3)            Ask your toddler what he would like to eat in the house and (if reasonable) include that in the trolley.

4)            Be organised – have a list set out in aisle order so that you spend as little time as possible in the shop.

5)            The top 3 reasons kids get upset in supermarkets (yes, someone did a survey!)…the first: hunger (so pack in snacks, even if they have just eaten at home), the second: boredom (snacks help here to, but think about a favourite toy or some stickers) and number 3: fatigue (so don’t shop when your little guy needs a nap!).

6)            Play games, like “I spy” something red or something with frogs on it. Another fun game is getting your child to sing “happy birthday” or “twinkle twinkle” and try to beat him to the end of the aisle before the end of the song.

7)            Try to ignore moaning, whining or sulking as attention to these can make them worse. Decide where the line is for attending to unhelpful behaviour. Remember to praise behaviour whenever you can, and with meaning! Don’t whisper “well done, you are being so helpful by standing near me today”. They want to hear how pleased you are and they love the fact that lady next to you in the aisle heard as well!

8)            Bribery is allowed! Sanity is important! But watch that it doesn’t get out of hand!

If these don’t help you there is another option….order online!

Happy shopping!!!


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