One thing we cannot pass up is a target shopping run! I mean who doesn’t love cruising through the aisles with a Starbucks drink in hand, checking out the dollar spot as long as your heart desires. Ohhh wait…. that was before kids-haha! Now, add in the grocery list that’s a mile long and two kiddos that want all the things and feel that it’s the right time to act out a scene from Braveheart. Screaming and talking so loudly that everyone can hear. It’s not realistic to think EVERY time we go to the store with our kiddos it will be an easy experience, most of the time it feels like organized chaos. There are so many factors to take in as well:
- is the store busy?,
- are you going around nap time?,
- are you going right after school (when they want your attention more)?,
- are you when someone doesn’t feel good?,
- are you are in a bad mood?,
- or maybe because it’s Tuesday.
With SO many things going on, I think it’s important to take some things into consideration before you head out to make it easier on yourself.
Plan for the trip back
First, before you even leave for the store clear off your counter tops. Seems like a silly thing to do but you are making it easier on yourself in the long run. I don’t know about you, but I only make one trip inside. If I must, I shut the hatch with my pinky finger and a roundhouse kick… well that’s how I roll. When you Hulk carry your groceries inside its really nice having a clean work space! You are not scrambling to find a place for all the bags and it makes unloading everything a lot faster with more space.
Turn shopping into an experience
When you are going to the store make sure you are ready for battle! Just in case that Braveheart scene starts to break out in the cereal aisle. For my kiddos, they do pretty well for about the first 20 minutes or so. Then after that I start to see them wilt a bit. I try to include them in the shopping experience as much as possible at his point by letting them hold the list, check things off, and help me find items. All these actions not only keep their attention but are also fine motor, letter and number recognition skills that you can sneak in on the fly. For my preschooler, I use the following prompts:
- On the list can you find letter ‘B’, what does the spaghetti sauce look like(what color),
- can you help find something that is yellow in this aisle,
- how much is this(what number do you see),
- do you see the picture on the box-tell me a story about this(he likes to just make them up).
Using prompts like these is such a great time to spark communication and open conversations that can turn into really connecting with your child. Depending on your kiddos age, adjust the prompts to fit their level.
The popcorn trick
Another trick I like to use at Target is the popcorn. Seriously. I take my always snackin’ children to the little cafe in there and they split a bag of popcorn. Not only am I feeding the sharks a snack but also distracting them! I do this intentionally when I know I am on a time crunch or I am feeling moody. I don’t want my issue to then trickle down to them in a negative way. This is just a fun treat for them every now and then and they know that it’s not something we do EVERY time.
These are just a few small tricks that can really make a difference. I feel that being aware of how you are feeling as you walk into the store is really the biggest game changer. If you are moody and not ready to take on the store with your kiddos, then DON’T. Give it an hour and try again, or just go tomorrow if it can wait. Make trips to the store feel like a success not a sinking ship.
Lead Pre-Kindergarten Teacher
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