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How to Shop With Kids

Having children does not excuse us from the necessary tasks of shopping for the family. Fortunatley, there are many modern conveniences that make this job easier for mom or dad and a few tips to help the young child accept and even enjoy your shopping trips together. Any outing can be fun for a child, and offers opportunities to socialize with others and learn about the great, big world around us. This advice helps the parent and the child have an enjoyable shopping day.

1. Plan your shopping trip for right after nap and snack time. The child may snack and doze in her stroller, but beginning the trip when she is freshly rested and well fed starts the trip out on the right foot.

2. Prepare the child before the shopping trip. Children handle changes better when they are prepared. Announcing a shopping trip during his favorite game or TV show is likely to cause more frustration and anger than excitement. Tell the child early in the day that shopping is on the schedule for the day, and you will probably be better received when it is time to go.

3. Plan your trip before you leave, whenever possible. Make a list of items you need to shop for and which stores you need to visit. Planning the order in which you need to shop also makes the trip more organized. When things are planned well, the trip goes faster and the parent is less likely to become frustrated. Happy parents usually bring along happy children.

4. Give the child a goal to work toward. For instance, "when we get done shopping at X Mart, our trip will be over." Without an ending point, the trip can seem to last forever for a young child. If she knows when to expect the trip to be complete, she feels more secure. Think twice about offering a reward for being good. Children need to learn that good behavior is what is expected of them, not something to earn an treat.

5. Even young children can get involved in the shopping experience. Keep the child content and engaged by assigning them a small task, such as helping you remember a specific item in the store. Talk to them about your purchases while you shop, and keep them satisfied with a cool drink and a snack during the adventure.

Planning ahead and helping the child through the shopping experience patiently is rewarding for the parent and the child. Every outing is a bonding experience, and a chance to teach life skills to any age child. Your positive attitude will be infectious to your children.