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Hassle-Free Shopping with Kids

Rachel Atkins

It’s pre-Pesach season, when most women spend an inordinate amount of time shopping. How to make your shopping sprees a stress-free experience, even with kids

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

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The challenge is that much more difficult when you’re trying to keep your baby calm, your toddler distracted, and your older kids from saying “Oooooh! Can we get that!?” as you walk down every aisle

I t was supposed to be a quick little trip to the supermarket — in and out, just to get a few items. “My first mistake was walking into the store with three very tired little ones,” Shira says. “Then, when my boys started acting up, I impulsively exclaimed, ‘That’s it! No treat today,’ and my middle child Shimmy reacted by throwing himself on the floor in a tantrum.

“Instead of leaving the store right away, I held him tight with one arm and used my other arm to push the shopping cart with my one-year-old daughter fastened inside and my oldest hanging off the side.”

Shimmy calmed down, but while he was wiggling around in Shira’s arms, he accidentally yanked apart her beaded necklace, scattering tiny plastic beads across the floor. “As I’m processing what’s going on, I hear a scream,” Shira describes. “My oldest had leaned back with his full weight and the shopping cart toppled over. Baruch Hashem, the kids were fine. But people came running from all directions: some to check on my daughter, some to pick up beads, some to stare. One lady exclaimed loudly, ‘Oh, my gosh, I almost just had a heart attack.’ ”

Shira’s face was crimson. “An employee came over and whispered to me, ‘Do you need help, Ma’am?’ All I could repeat was, ‘I just need to get out of here.’ As I finally wheeled the cart out of the store, I heard another scream behind me. Seems as if Shimmy was still not happy about something and was expressing it, on the floor, in full pitch. It took three weeks before I felt brave enough to enter that particular grocery store again — this time without any of my kids.”


Most mothers have lived through at least one harrowing shopping experience. But even kids’ regular antics can make shopping trips a nightmare. How do you keep your toddler from unbuckling the grocery cart strap and doing acrobatics as you’re going up and down the aisles? How do you prevent your kids from touching every item on the shelves? Or having meltdowns when you tell them, “No, we’re not buying that”? What can you do to keep your little ones from running around — or wandering off?

Four Shopping Bloopers

If you dread shopping with your kids, you’re not alone. When I ran a parenting workshop in London on the topic of shopping with children, the most common reaction from parents who signed up was relief: “I’m not the only one dealing with this problem.” The second most common response: “I don’t have a problem. I don’t take my children shopping — ever!”

The techniques I teach are culled from the Triple-P, Positive Parenting Program, an internationally acclaimed program that provides practical tools for preventing and managing challenging behavior. Let’s start by looking at some of the reasons children misbehave on shopping trips.

(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 584)

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