Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Store Wars (Preschool, Elementary, Teenager)

I recently received an e-mail from my sister-in-love about her horrible afternoon with my angelic niece and nephew while in  a store.  Apparently they metamorphed into two screaming banshees and made discreet shopping next to impossible. 
She requested a post that dealt with this delicate subject.  Every mother has been there and has been embarrassed half to death.  Wouldn’t it be nice if all of our kids came with a “shopping mode” that we could flip on the moment that we were pulling into our favorite retail parking lot?  So in keeping with the Star Wars theme, here are some tried and true solutions. 

Lucky Leah
If you have a brave soul who is willing to watch your kids for you, TAKE THEM UP ON IT!!   But not all of us enjoy this luxury.  If you don’t have a willing party, you could strike a deal that you watch a friend’s children for her and she will watch yours in return.  That would be lucky for you.

R2D2 Treats
I am not a fan of suckers.  It is a continual bath of sugar on your child’s pearly whites, however, they take a long time to consume.  AND if you need some uninterrupted time, take advantage of the time.  Sugar free suckers are also an option, but a little bit pricier.  Apples also take a while to eat and are much healthier if your child will eat them.  These yummy treats should short circuit some bothersome behaviors.

Galaxy Games
I remember an occasion when I was having a trying time with my two angels and met a friend in the store.  She immediately sized up the situation and produced a piece of paper and a pen.  She drew a bunch of dots on the paper and got them started on the dot game to see who could make the most squares.  It kept them busy for about thirty minutes!   It gave me time to fly my shopping cart through every sector of the store.

Pay Off The Emperor
Some of you call this bribery and others a reward.  This is the one I remember growing up with.  If I was good in the store, I got to pick out a treat at the check-out.   It was usually a candy bar or a big bag of candy that we all shared on the way home.  It would even make Darth Vader happy.

Recruit The Rebels
This is my personal favorite.  Assign jobs of pushing the cart, getting item from the shelf, or if appropriate even giving them a list with a cart.  When they take ownership of shopping, the behavioral issues diminish.   They are so busy conquering the list, that they forget to be a bother.

The Force
Unfortunately you may run out of options in your back pocket and your tyke has chosen to continue to make your life, their siblings, and other shoppers a nightmare.   Be creative with your punishment.  Instead of immediately finding the nearest restroom for your time out or spanking, try withholding something they like.  For example if they hate riding in the cart, tell them that if their behavior continues, they will have to ride in the cart for 5 minutes.  If they love riding in the cart, tell them that they will have to walk for 5 minutes.  Sometimes these consequences will help a child make the right choice.  And these consequences are much “cheaper” for you.  They are not going to cost you as much time and energy as finding the nearest restroom or even leaving.

In conclusion, I hope that the next time you are shopping your troubles are in another galaxy far, far away and not with you!   What other tips have you used to make shopping easier?


  1. I almost always planned my shopping for when my husband could be home with the children. I'm afraid I didn't have much patience with them in the store. Also, being a stay-at-home mom I desperately needed a little break from the kids. It was often the only time I had by myself in a week.

  2. When you are a mom, isn't it funny how routine shopping can turn into a treat when you go by yourself!!!