No Child Overboard: Keep Your Kids Calm While Shopping

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So you need to go shopping, but the idea of bringing your kids to a store is anything but appealing. You're in the same boat as many other parents. After all, you'd really need to get all little hands on deck in order to have a positive shopping experience, and experience has probably taught you to expect rough waters instead of smooth sailing when kids are stuck in a store. Luckily, there are ways you can keep your child calm on shopping voyages.

Acknowledge Feelings

Take the helm and confidently deal with children when they start to misbehave. Instead of getting mad at children who complain at the store, show sympathy. Put their frustration into words and repeat back to them what they say in different ways. For example, if a child hates crowds, talk about how crowds make you feel. Ask if the kid may be feelings the same way and acknowledge that you understand how bad that feeling is. Then offer a solution, such as a 15-minute time limit to finish shopping and then resolve the feeling by going somewhere without crowds.

Amp Up the Fun Factor

Perhaps the most effective way to make children happy about shopping is to make it fun for them. Buy personalized children CDs and a portable CD player. A child can put on headphones and enjoy the awesome personalized music while going around the store. Not only will they feel special with the personalized music selection, but they will want to repeat the fun activity again soon. 

Ask for Help

Don't keel over if your kids rock the boat when you walk in the store. Few things will keep kids in line during a shopping trip as quickly as asking them for help. Children love having little jobs and feeling like they are being a big help to Mom or Dad. For example, if you are shopping for a friend's baby shower, you might try asking your kids to help you pick out baby girl boutique clothes. Even if you don't plan on buying any of the little outfits they pick out, be sure to shower them with praise, and they will feel great about themselves and the shopping trip.

Bring Along Snacks

Sailors of yesteryear used to fear sirens of the sea in much the same way that you fear one of your kids having a tantrum while you're in the middle of the store. Those sailors gave up peace offerings to the sea, and you can do the same by bringing along snacks for your kids. Bring along things that are easy to eat and won't leave a mess behind in the store. Some options include chips, grapes, raisins, graham crackers, and carrot sticks.

Praise Stellar Behavior

Take the wind out of the sails of kids who misbehave for attention. Ignore small transgressions. Instead, heap praise on children who are well-behaved. For example, if one child has an attitude while the other child is eagerly helping you grab an item from the shelf, praise the one who helped you. All your children seek your attention and will do, so giving more attention for good behavior will help make your shopping trip much easier. Soon all your children will be showing off their best behavior.

Finally, you may soon find that the tide has turned! Keep these tips in mind the next time you're planning a shopping trip with your kids, and you will likely be delighted to find that they are fun to have along whether you are shopping at a small boutique or a crowded mall.