By guest author Marcia Washburn
Everyday challenges such as shopping with little ones can test the stamina of the strongest woman. Since we often must run errands with children in tow, here are some tips for life on the go.
- Shop efficiently. Aim for going no more than once a week and set up a route that minimizes backtracking, both around town and within your favorite store.
- Work with, not against, the rhythms of this season of your life. This is no time for marathon errand-running sessions. Plan to go when you and the children are well-rested, preferably during a quiet time of day at the stores.
- Use carts and strollers to keep track of little ones. I did my weekly shopping with five boys using two grocery carts — one for food and one for little ones. The oldest (9) pushed the food cart; he was careful because he didn’t want to lose his driver’s license. The seven-year-old loaded the cart as I called out, “Get ten cans of tomato sauce — choose the best buy.” The four-year-old importantly helped Mommy push the little guys’ cart by holding onto the side. The two-year-old and newborn rode in the little guys’ cart. Everyone was connected to a cart in some way; no one was out of sight or racing the aisles.
- The treat trick. Get a “treat” in the produce aisle (perhaps something unique like a pomegranate or artichoke) to forestall begging for sweets in the check-out line.
- Don’t ignore your children while you shop. Head off attention-getting behavior by treating shopping as an opportunity for fellowship in a new setting as well as for developing mental math and judgment skills. Talk to your children as you wheel through the store.
- The no-touch policy. When you must shop in a store with fragile items, remind your children, “This is a no-touch store.” Then watch to be sure your own purse doesn’t clear the deck on a shelf as you walk by.
- Roll call! Lest you leave a child behind in the grocery store, as I once did, sound off by numbers in the car before leaving. The oldest child is #1, etc. You will quickly know if anyone is missing.
- Catalog or Internet shop when you can. Little boys and ladies’ dressings rooms don’t mix!
©2015 Marcia K. Washburn. Excerpted from Marcia’s Management for Moms series. Visit MarciaWashburn.com for more articles and resources for busy moms.
Let’s keep the conversation going. What are your favorite strategies for making shopping less stressful?