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“Ma’am, is That Your Kid?”

Rachel Bachrach

Getting kids to behave in public is no picnic. But even if you’re embarrassed and on edge, the grocery clerk has seen it all. As has the doctor, the flight attendant, the shoe store manager, and the guy behind the pizza counter. And, because they’ve witnessed every tantrum and trick in the book, they have practical advice for coping with your kids, preventing meltdowns, and — because kids will be kids — dealing with them when there’s no turning back.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

kid illustrationThe Clothing Store

Children have a limited amount of patience. They’re not always great at trying clothes on, especially if they’ve been milling around while you browse. If you know your child doesn’t do well with clothing shopping, call me up the day before and tell me what you’re looking for and in what size. I can set aside some options so you can take your son straight to the fitting room.

Make sure you have enough time. If you bring kids in for serious shopping when you have only ten minutes to spare, don’t think everything is going to go smoothly and quickly. And don’t come with a cranky child. I’ve had my store for 30 years, and crankiness doesn’t bother me. As far as I’m concerned, you can stay as long as you want, even if your child is having a meltdown. But for you, the mother, it can be trying.

You know what does faze me? The most disturbing thing is when mothers let children do whatever they want, especially take clothes and throw them on the floor.

A lot of mothers who know shopping will be a harrowing experience bring in treats — but please tell your kids not to eat that treat in the store. We want to keep everything clean and free of chocolate smears and food stains. And if you tell your kids, “We’ll shop first and then get pizza,” just know that if your child wants pizza first, you’re not going to win.

Don’t hold up a dress and ask your toddler if she’ll wear it; if it’s comfortable and in a color she likes, it will be fine. And if you’re coming with young children, don’t bring your older ones along. The eight-year-old sister will tell the three-year-old the outfit is not for her, and you’ve lost the battle — the three-year-old won’t wear it.

—    Rivka Blaustein, owner of Itz You in Chicago, Illinois

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