We went shopping today.
It was quite the trip.
I would love to report that my children were perfectly well-behaved little angels while we were shopping… but I simply cannot.
However, I did learn 5 things today about shopping with my kids.
5. Always bring a stroller or wagon if you have a child under the age of 5 with you. I had a difficult time “shopping” for what I wanted since I had to chase my 2-year-old around. My 5-year-old is normally a great helper and can usually keep the 2-year old corralled. Today was an exception though, because he was not in the mood to be “corralled”. I missed being able to strap him into the stroller or letting him play with a toy in our wagon. Note to self: put stroller or wagon in my vehicle for next time.
4. If you forget your stroller, call in a friend or relative. Thankfully, my mom was with us yesterday when we went shopping. She was able to help some, but sometimes Mom has to step in and say a few words to the 2-year-old. Don’t get me wrong, he is usually so well behaved, but he was wound up big time yesterday. It had been awhile since I had taken our kids out shopping without Mechanic. I now remember why. 😉
3. Supervise rather than control. What do I mean? Instead of saying your child’s names constantly and trying to get their attention, go over to the area where they are congregating and just supervise. Don’t tell them what they can and can’t do. Just watch and make sure nothing gets broken. I made the mistake of not letting them play at the nasty play place at the mall we were shopping at. No regrets as far as germs, but I should have let them so I could have had my mom sit and watch them while I did my shopping quickly. I know not everyone parents the same way, but I noticed yesterday that I can be quite a control freak.
2. Let the kids stop and look at a store if they see something that interests them. I know that could be a whole other can of worms, but seriously. I saw yesterday that if I let my kids stop and look when they wanted to, it slowed them down and allowed my mom and I to catch our breath. It also allowed us to stop and talk about what we were looking at. I will admit, I may have used a cookie as bribery to get my kids to stop and chill out for a few minutes. That’s OK. Having a snack and drink break to refocus and calm down can be refreshing and help your shopping experience considerably.
1. The part I learned the most from was just watching my kids enjoy themselves. There is a certain freedom in knowing that your kids are having fun. Even though I was exhausted at the end of our shopping trip, I can’t help but remember how happy my kids were during our shopping trip. I haven’t heard them giggle so much in long time while we were out today. I wanted to try to make them behave, but seeing how much fun they were having with each other was absolutely priceless.
Kids are going to be kids and keeping them on a tight leash is going to force them to grow up faster than they should. Let them enjoy their childhood. Let yourself enjoy their childhood. Always tell them you love them and kiss them whenever you leave each other.