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Strategies For Stress-Free Shopping Trips With Preschoolers

Just in time for the holidays, the Triple P Team gives up advice for shopping with preschoolers!

As parents of infants and/or toddlers, you know that once your child is physically capable of sitting in the front of the shopping cart, it’s a game changer when it comes to shopping with your child in tow. It might not be a milestone for the baby book, but most parents can recall the first time they went shopping and their child wasn’t either strapped to them or strapped into their car seat.

However, that sweet spot of having your child contained and your hands free to shop is short lived. Eventually, your toddler gets too big for the cart. Or, worse, you have to shop somewhere that doesn’t offer carts—ack!

Either way, at some point we get to teach our children to behave appropriately in public. Shopping is an unavoidable part of life and, believe it or not, can really be fun with a curious toddler by your side. Here are some strategies for creating fun and peaceful shopping trips.

Set up for Success

Plan your shopping trip when you and your child are well rested, fed, and up for an adventure. Go when you have plenty of time to use teachable moments and can enjoy seeing the world through your child’s eyes.

Shop Till You Drop

When it comes to shopping with preschoolers, normal child behavior that can lead to parental frustration can include:

  • Your child’s curious hands want to touch everything.
  • Your child not staying with you/running up ahead.
  • Your child’s upset reaction when you set a limit.
  • Your child yelling or being noisy after you’ve asked them to use a quiet voice.

It’s normal for toddlers and preschoolers to get tired and irritated easily, especially in situations where they are bored or expected to be calm and patient for an extended period of time. Many parents have found that doing a series of “trial run” shopping trips where you and your child spend under 10 minutes in the store and work your way toward larger trips is a successful way to teach acceptable shopping behavior.

Establish two or three “shopping rules” your child can easily follow and go over them before each shopping trip:

  • Stay close to Mom or Dad. (Hold hands in the store)
  • Use your walking legs. (Feet)
  • Ask before you touch. (Hands to yourself)
  • Use a quiet, indoor voice.

If you decide to offer a reward for following your shopping rules, mention it just after you go over the rules: “Peter, if you can follow our shopping rules while at the store, we can play at the park when we are through shopping.”

For more tips and to read the full blog post, visit lanekids.org

This article is brought to you by Parenting Now Parenting Educators and authors Amanda Bedortha, Claire Davis and Lynne Swartz and consultant Jay Thompson (andupdatemywebsite.com).  Parenting Now is passionate about happy, healthy families. For more information about Parenting Now please visit their website (https://parentingnow.org/) or contact us at info@parentingnow.org

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