by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
As a mother of 4 who also often has other people's kids in tow, I have had plenty of experience with kids in stores. Now it's time for me to share those tips with other parents. Children can be cranky, demanding, and downright stubborn in the grocery store. Some will throw a fit because they cannot get what they wanted. Others will simply wine and complain throughout the store. There are children who actually behave in the store, but it usually takes a little creativity and quick thinking on the parents' end. A stroller for anyone under 4 is great as well. I have compiled a list of things that ease the stress on the parent by keeping the children busy, entertained, and happy in the grocery store.
Create a Family List at Home and Stick To It
Before ever stepping foot in a store, this should be done whenever possible. Create a grocery list together as a family, being sure to include something everyone requests. Make it known that the family is not going to be purchasing anything that is not on the list. Stick to that plan. Even if you see something you needed, wait until the next trip. That will show the children that everyone has to follow those rules. By including everyone in the process, you are also ensuring that you have at least one thing that everyone will be happy to purchase. Let each person put all the ingredients in their cart that go with their favorite meal and snacks.
Never Give In
No matter how much whining, screaming, complaining, arm flailing, or whatever other antics a child performs, do not give in, ever. Giving in just once gives the child the idea that you may do it again and it will ultimately make the fit worse next time. The more times you give in, the worse the fit will be each time you say no. But, if you stick to meaning what you say, the child will eventually realize that no matter what they do, you will not give in.
Grocery Store ABC
Kids love a great game. Not only will this be fun, but it will take their minds off of asking for things or running and playing in the store. The youngest starts first and the oldest (one of the adults) goes last. The first person looks around for something that starts with the letter "A". Once they have found it, they will say. "A is for apple (the underlined word is the name of the item the person found). Now the next person needs to find something that starts with "B". They will say "A is for apple. B is for bananas." Each person must name the items that came before their item and then name their item, as shown in the last example. The game continues until the players reach the letter Z or the grocery trip is over.
Be sure the children know what consequences they will have for acting up in the store. This should be discussed prior to leaving the house. Be sure they know that if they are good, "x" will happen. If they misbehave, they will do "x" or that "x" will be taken away. Always follow through. Remind them of the consequences right before you step into the store.
I Spy Grocery Game
This game is played just like the traditional "I Spy" game, except the items will all be found inside the grocery store. The first player (youngest able to play) will find something and say something about it that will help the others identify it. For, instance, if it was a banana, he or she could say "I spy something that is yellow with a blue sticker". The remaining players will then call out guesses. The first player to guess correctly will spy something next. This game can last throughout the entire grocery trip.
Let the Kids Help
Most children love to help with miniature tasks, such as putting items into the cart. By letting the kids help with this task, you will not only speed up your shopping trip, but they will be so intent on that task, they just may forget to ask about things or play around. The key to this method is to keep them so busy, they do not have time to count how many items their siblings have placed into the cart in comparison to theirs or to even think about doing anything else.
Discuss Last Night's Dreams
Discussing dreams is a fun and easy way to pass time. If the child did not dream the night before, they can always discuss a dream from another night. Not only will this activity keep the children busy, but it will be a great bonding tool. The time will seem to go by much faster as well.
What Would You Do With $1 Million
This is an old favorite. Many people like to discuss this topic. Grocery shopping is the opportune time. This one can sometimes take so long, it may even continue on the car ride home. Each person should tell everyone what they would do with a million dollars. As with the other games, the youngest should go first and the oldest should go last.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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