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Survive Shopping with Small Kids

Get Your Shopping Done and Save Your Sanity


I know just how you feel, embarrassed, desperate, ready to jump into the closest, deepest hole. You look around and see other people happily shopping with their well behaved kid while yours loses it after the first 15 minutes in any store.
Yep, my kids have thrown super-duper, massive fits in the mall too. Did I give up shopping? No way! I just made a few simple adjustments to our shopping routine to make the entire process more enjoyable for the entire family.

  • Eat before you leave and feed the kid.
    Keep everyone's energy and blood sugar levels nice and high by starting the trip off with full stomachs.
  • Tell your child ahead of time exactly what will happen.
    For example, "We are going to buy you a pair of shoes. The salesperson will measure your foot, and then we will try on several pairs. We will choose the best ones and buy them for you."
  • Bring along no-mess snacks.
    Bring a snack to keep your child from getting hungry and tired. A snack is also a good distraction in case your kid gets bored. Make sure the snack is a no-mess snack such as dry cheerios.
  • Bring an umbrella stroller.
    If your child is under five and tends to tire easily, bring along an umbrella stroller to give his feet a break. Some shopping malls rent out strollers for a small fee.
  • Let your child bring a toy along.
    Most children like to bring something from home with them wherever they go. Let your kid bring a small item with him to keep him occupied while you shop.
  • Promise a small reward for good behavior.
    On the way to the store, promise your child a small reward if he is well behaved throughout the trip. The reward can be a trip to his favorite food stand or a small trinket from a vending machine.
  • Get your child involved in shopping.
    Most small children are not overly interested in fashion, but if you try, you can get your child more involved in choosing his wardrobe. When buying shirts for example, pick the style and let him choose the color. Actively look for items that you think he will like such as a backpack featuring his favorite storybook character.
  • Take shorter shopping trips.
    Marathon shopping is sure to end badly. Budget your time wisely and take several smaller shopping trips. Soon your child will get used to shopping and you will be able to increase your mall-time bit by bit.
  • Shop online
    If your kid is really going through a tough patch, and shopping together seems impossible, do some of your shopping online. Just about anything is available through online stores these days.

    Eventually, your child will grow out of this difficult stage and you can begin shopping normally again. Until then, be patient and use these tips to make shopping with your kid easier.
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