The Mommy Chronicles: Shopping Can be Fun with Your Preschooler

Beaux William enjoying the comfort of an outdoor lounge chair in World Market. Allowing your child to have fun and shop with you in a partnering way makes the experience better for both of you during those routine outings. Beaux William enjoying the comfort of an outdoor lounge chair in World Market. Allowing your child to have fun and shop with you in a partnering way makes the experience better for both of you during those routine outings. Marlena Rice

You’ve seen her. She’s the mom at the grocery store that is the epitome of everything you are presently trying to accomplish. She’s athletic, and her workout shoes look well-worn (yes, her thigh gap proves it), but they look perfectly presentable to wear in the grocery store. Her shopping cart is filled with healthy(ish) foods, compared to your array of Tuna Helper and DiGiorno Pizza. And what really catches your eye the most: her child is with her. Sitting quietly in the buggy. With no hassle. With no crying. And, as your preschooler pulls you by the arm to the tiny toy section scrunched between the paper towels and magazines on aisle 10, you wonder how she did it.  

Okay, maybe that was a little dramatic, but we’ve all been there – and it’s important to feel confident when you have to master the art of shopping your favorite store while at the same time allowing your little person to enjoy the time with you. So, what do you do when you feel like your little one is this close to throwing a tantrum, or does throw a tantrum in your favorite store? 

You have a plan in place. Here are some coping suggestions.

Give your child their own grocery or shopping list

Once you’ve made your grocery or shopping list, split it up with your little people. If you’re into the cutesy, printable stationary for your lists, make one especially for your child. As you peruse the store, take turns with your little one until you each finish your shopping lists. 

Provide flexibility with boundaries

Unfortunately for those easy-going moms like me, boundaries are necessary to enforce, as hard as it may be sometimes. These boundaries truly are for the betterment of our babies. If you feel a tantrum, attitude, sleepiness, or a variety of any other toddler-type behaviors budding while you’re knee-deep in your list, give guidelines with flexibility. 

For example, if your afternoon promises destinations that are more appealing for your preschooler than your current store, your conversation may go something like this: “You need to hold on to the shopping cart and help Mama finish her list before we go to the library.” If your child persists in disobedience, you may have to nix going to the library on that day. If items are pulled from the shelves and not placed back in an orderly way, putting your child inside of the buggy will be the consequence of their behavior. 

Appreciate your child for what they are doing

Even the busiest child thrives in a structured environment. Believe me, I have an almost four-year old who absolutely loves sitting at his table at school with his classmates and crafting. Tell your children how much you appreciate them when they are your helper and follow the rules. While in the store, ask your child to load your items when it is time to pay, or, if you have a light list, allow them to carry the goodies in a handheld buggy. This will give them a job, and at the same time, a feeling of achievement when they are done - all while being a helper for you.

Having a perfectly behaved child in all situations is virtually impossible. However, sometimes changing up your behavior, and how you incorporate your little people into your daily tasks, may provide different results.  

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Marlena Rice

Marlena Rice is a busy mom and writer who lives in Tuscaloosa with her husband, Rod, and their son, Beaux William. Her new book, “Pacifiers, Flatbeds and Barn Wood Thingamajigs, a ‘Come to Jesus Guide’ for the New, Southern Mom,” will be available on Amazon.com soon. 

Website: www.linkedin.com/in/marlena-rice-37975b40

Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

 

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