I received a question from a reader today about shopping with kids.
The question: "How do you go about your shopping with kids? My kids lose control at the store and want everything and always want me to get them food!?! What do you do?"
The best advice I can give is not to give in. I very rarely take my kids shopping with me because I know it's not an enjoyable activity for them. I usually try and wait until the weekend when my husband can watch them. That being said, I do take them at times. I started at a very young age telling H (now 4 1/2) that the toys live in the store. That we were not going to buy things and if he wanted something he could ask for it for Christmas or his birthday. That really worked for him. He never asks for toys because he knows we are not going to get them. We also try and buy really high quality toys, so he knows those only come for special occasions.
Along the lines of food. I made the mistake of forgetting snacks once while at Target. I ran to the baby aisle because I had a screaming baby. I grabbed one of those puff snacks. You know the ones: organic, sweet potato, something or other fluffed air in a plastic container!?! Well I gave them to him to try and "get through my shopping." He devoured them. Then I read the ingredients:
Sweet Potato Puffs Ingredientsorganic
brown rice flour, organic rice flour, organic apple juice concentrate,
organic freeze dried sweet potato powder, calcium carbonate, tricalcium
phosphate, dicalcium phosphate dihydrate, choline bitartarate, vitamin
and mineral blend (ferric orthophosphate (iron), sodium ascorbate
(vitamin c), niacinamide (vitamin b3), d-alpha-tocopherol acetate
(vitamin e), zinc oxide, vitamin a acetate, cholecalciferol (vitamin
d3), calcium pantothenate (vitamin b5), cyanobolamin (vitamin b12),
riboflavin (vitamin b2), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin b1), pridoxine
hydrochloride (vitamin b6)), natural mixed tocopherols to preserve
Then I felt guilty. He had a horrible stomach ache that night and he developed a rash on his chest. Not sure what caused it, but I decided no more of those "quick, grab, my baby is crying, gotta make it through the store" foods.
I highly recommend packing a snack with you if you have to take your kids shopping. I feel that teaching them that going shopping: IE, the mall, the local stores, Target, whatever equals getting a less than desirable "snack" is not a good way of coping with our child that might not want to be shopping.
On another note, I try not to fear the tantrum or meltdown. If it happens, it happens. We don't always have to try and "fix" our kids behavior with giving them what they want. Persistence in saying "no you may not" have that, will more than likely warrant you better behaviors in the future.
I hope this helps alleviate any less than desirable moments for you!