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Anyone let their toddler run around in stores? - Page 9

post #161 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cascadian View Post
Oh right. They're kids. Social rules don't apply for prince/ss.
I keep coming back to what you said here. I take issue with how society treats kids in public. Pretty much they are shunned. It really irks me how people and businesses react to them. But there is a flip side. There are parents who let children treat public places like they would home or the backyard (how this helps children learn is beyond me. Is this how we as adults act in public places? So we are teaching them correct behavior in these places how? ). So I think we get people who assume all parents are going to let their little angles be disruptive, etc and it sets up a real stigma which is unfortunate. However their attitude of "put a muzzle on the kid" is pretty darn unfortunate too.

The whole thing, though, is social rules do apply to children. Don't we tout that in NIP? Don't we say "my child has a right to eat here"? Seems to me it should go both ways. If we want our children accepted in public places why not teach them to act acceptably?

All this talk of "allowing them to explore" has me puzzled. When you explore a store do you roam around under foot? Run around? Play around? No that is not how we behave in stores. So the best way for them to learn would be to stay close to mom/dad and immolate their behavior not be "set loose". I keep hearing if we let them do the above they will learn how to shop, etc. Well, no they won't. They will learn that running around a store is acceptable behavior. Staying close to their parents they learn that shopping is a different arena altogether and how to go about it. Yes, by all means children should be exploring grocery stores and other places but to say that means just allowing them to run around or even roam doesn't make much sense to me. They can explore by your side with you. They will learn more by watching your behavior and your actions at the store. I can understand fully the desire to let one's children free to explore but I guess I am not seeing how keeping them near you while shopping is the opposite of that or hinders that in any way. But when you keep them close they are far less likely to get hurt, disturb the other shoppers, or destroy property.

There is just a time and a place. For us at playgrounds we play. When we shop we stay close to mom. When we are at church we are quiet during service and then when we go to nursery we can play, etc etc.

And lest I am making it sound like I think kids who run around are little hellions I don't believe that at all. But I have seen how easily they can get hurt, lost and inadvertently disrupt or even hurt other shoppers. I just think shopping is a prime opportunity to learn at mom/dad's side how to shop and also how to be considerate of others.
post #162 of 182
:

Nicely said. Though I do think that people who let their kids run (and I mean literally run and play, not walk with their parent) around in stores are being extremely inconsiderate of the other shoppers, the store employees and owners/managers, and, frankly, of their own kids who aren't being taught how to behave appropriately in that situation.
post #163 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post

All this talk of "allowing them to explore" has me puzzled. When you explore a store do you roam around under foot? Run around? Play around? No that is not how we behave in stores. So the best way for them to learn would be to stay close to mom/dad and immolate their behavior not be "set loose". I keep hearing if we let them do the above they will learn how to shop, etc. Well, no they won't. They will learn that running around a store is acceptable behavior.... Yes, by all means children should be exploring grocery stores and other places but to say that means just allowing them to run around or even roam doesn't make much sense to me. They can explore by your side with you. ... But when you keep them close they are far less likely to get hurt, disturb the other shoppers, or destroy property.

There is just a time and a place. For us at playgrounds we play. When we shop we stay close to mom. When we are at church we are quiet during service and then when we go to nursery we can play, etc etc.
Here's the thing. My child wants to look at stuff. She wants to play-shop. It's not that she has an overwhelming desire to toss glass bottles on the floor and run into old ladies, and I feel she needs to do that to "learn how to shop." No. She wants to be in control of the situation for a little bit, to choose her own aisle, to "read" the bottles, and so on.

So letting her explore has nothing to do with her believing the store is the park. She's smarter than that. It's about letting her lead the way for awhile. I don't see where that intersects with letting her run around like a maniac provided I'm nearby supervising.
post #164 of 182
Quote:
I don't mean to sound snarky, but I have a hard time understanding when parents say things like this. I can imagine even my DD, who is very laid back, giving me a hard time about being required to be in a cart at 5!
My 5 year old dd would love to be allowed to ride in the cart, but ds2 and ds3 have dibs.
post #165 of 182
DD's 16 months. We go to two supermarkets - a quiet, empty one and a huge noisy crowded one. At the latter, she stays in the pram, or if she gets upset I take her out and hold her. Even if DH is there, it's just too crowded and dangerous for her to be on the loose.

At the quiet supermarket, if DH and I are both there - yup, she can roam. We make sure one of us is right there with her, as she occasionally likes to pull things off shelves (although come to think of it, she's not too bad these days). She loves to gallop down an empty aisle, and giving her a bit of freedom means she's happy to be put back in the pram for the trip home (we usually shop at night, so it isn't always feasible for her to walk home with us - plus, the place is quieter). Because one of us is right there with her, she doesn't tend to get underfoot, and people she encounters tend to universally beam and say "Awww".

As an added measure we sometimes use the harness/leashy thing, or DH's "chivvying cane" which he uses to guide her in the right direction, which is hilarious to watch!

As a matter of fact, I have some pics of a recent shopping trip on my blog.
post #166 of 182
No way, he could get hurt.
post #167 of 182
No, absolutely no. They ride in the cart till they're quite old (late 3 or 4). DD is 5 now and has to walk next to one of us. I don't even send her down the aisle and around the corner to find her dad.

I was not at all worried about DD being abducted, but she is a very strong-willed and independent child with a lot of energy and it just wasn't ever a safe or responsible possibility. She DID want out of the cart very early, but frankly we just never let her. Ever. Not once. Not till she was nearly 4, and even then, it became apparent that it was too early and she went back in the cart for a while. Even now I get embarrassed because she doens't always step aside for other shoppers or stockers quickly enough.

She knew it was a rule--at the grocery store, in the cart.

Even with a strong-willed child, you CAN make a few rules like this and expect them to be generally handled without much protest IF you are incredibly consistent every single time and never give in.
post #168 of 182
In a grocery store, yes, my 2 yo and 4 yo can get out and walk around. Not run, scream and knock over the vegetable display. But walk, "read" labels, ask if we can have xy or z, pick out the peppers or bag of carrots. If they start shouting or running, I tell them to stop or they can get in the cart. Their choice. And so they have learned what they can, and can not do. That's how they learn, by doing, not by being forced in a cart. Though sometimes one or both of them are tired and actually prefer the cart, which is fine too.

DS is pretty laid back, but DD was, and is, a wild, speedy, screeching kid. So she ended up in the cart a lot. But she was always given the opportunity to walk freely first. And as she gets older, she is walking around picking out her own fruits and vegetables a lot more than she is in the cart.
post #169 of 182
There are so many shades of grey to this conversation, I'm really confused....

For us.... depends on age, depends on store, depends on risk, depends on my mood and ability to get things done, etc. There is no absolute answer to this one.

I do want to be considerate of other people and other shoppers; however, I am usually shopping by myself with two young children and quite frankly, I am a consumer of this store and others also need to be aware of my circumstances as well.
post #170 of 182
My 3 and 4 year olds walk, while my 17mo generally sits in the cart. If it's empty and the little guy wants to get out and explore - sometimes I'll let him. Depends on the day...
post #171 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
DD's 16 months. We go to two supermarkets - a quiet, empty one and a huge noisy crowded one. At the latter, she stays in the pram, or if she gets upset I take her out and hold her. Even if DH is there, it's just too crowded and dangerous for her to be on the loose.

At the quiet supermarket, if DH and I are both there - yup, she can roam. We make sure one of us is right there with her, as she occasionally likes to pull things off shelves (although come to think of it, she's not too bad these days). She loves to gallop down an empty aisle, and giving her a bit of freedom means she's happy to be put back in the pram for the trip home (we usually shop at night, so it isn't always feasible for her to walk home with us - plus, the place is quieter). Because one of us is right there with her, she doesn't tend to get underfoot, and people she encounters tend to universally beam and say "Awww".

As an added measure we sometimes use the harness/leashy thing, or DH's "chivvying cane" which he uses to guide her in the right direction, which is hilarious to watch!

As a matter of fact, I have some pics of a recent shopping trip on my blog.
I just looked at your pictures, and I LOVE your tether!!!!! I think it's much better than having a small child extend her arm upwards all the time while holding the hand of a adult.

You know, I had forgotten about this thread until last night. I was doing my grocery shopping. Alone. Kid free. :

Honestly, it was like a little slice of pure heaven.
post #172 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlobe View Post
There are so many shades of grey to this conversation, I'm really confused....

For us.... depends on age, depends on store, depends on risk, depends on my mood and ability to get things done, etc. There is no absolute answer to this one.

I do want to be considerate of other people and other shoppers; however, I am usually shopping by myself with two young children and quite frankly, I am a consumer of this store and others also need to be aware of my circumstances as well.
And your depends would have driven Erica into a melt down. Like loraxc's dd, Erica was (and still is, you just don't grow out of your personality) a strong-willed child (add in difficult and defiant as well). She required consistency and an inflexible order in her world. It wasn't until she was an adult, that she was diagnosed with OCD.
post #173 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlobe View Post
There are so many shades of grey to this conversation, I'm really confused....

For us.... depends on age, depends on store, depends on risk, depends on my mood and ability to get things done, etc. There is no absolute answer to this one.

I do want to be considerate of other people and other shoppers; however, I am usually shopping by myself with two young children and quite frankly, I am a consumer of this store and others also need to be aware of my circumstances as well.
I'm getting confused here, too. I think there is confusion over what exactly "explore" means (does it mean a child off on her own? does it mean another parent or guardian going along with? does it mean right beside mama/daddy shopping? does it mean treating property gently and putting things back where they belong? what kind of store are we talking about here--a crowded one, a grocer with lots of shopping carts, one that has lots of walking space and no carts, one that isn't crowded, etc.?). Our dd had huge sensory issues as an infant and young toddler (it wasn't until she was 18 months old that she could ride in the car for more than 10 minutes!) so the shopping cart was just never an option (she literally would have cried and screamed the entire trip, something that were ideologically against). We also could not carry her in a sling while shopping (again, sensory issue here) nor could we simply just carry her in arms, as she *had* to touch, explore, look at everything. A tether was also not an option, due to her sensory issue of hating being confined by anything. We often, for these reasons, just did not take her to the store until she was closer to 1.5 years old. At that point, we would take her and let one of us stay close to her at all times and talk to her about all of the interesting things she was seeing, while the other shopped. We did this until she was nearly 3 and would consent to ride in a shopping cart, which is what we now do at the grocer. At other stores, like department stores or places like Target, we sometimes use a cart (if we're just going to be quick), or let her explore a while on foot (if we're going to be a while). DD has never run in a store (even as a little) and she has always been paranoid of breaking anything, but that's just her personality.

My point in listing all of this is to point out that even in one family with one child there is no "concrete" answer to how to handle this situation. At different times there are different measures and different reasons for those measures. I have no issue with anyone who says that for their family they feel it's best to do (or not do) xyz, but I dislike blanket, generalized statements, such as "parents who let their children walk around outside of a shopping cart are being inconsiderate of other shoppers," (I'm not quoting anyone in particular here but rather the feeling I've gotten from some posts). Perhaps, the only alternative was to let the child scream in the shopping cart and I'm not sure that would have been more considerate to either other shoppers or to the child. There are just so many reasons why parents choose one action over another. I know there are parents out there who don't put a lot of thought into what they do, but there are also many parents who do.

For our family, we sometimes let dd explore at her own pace, sometimes not (depending on the store, how much time we have, etc.). Also, we are always with her (to make sure things don't get mishandled and to ensure her safety and that of other shoppers). I would not be comfortable letting her go out of eyesight at age 3, simply because I worry that she would get confused and upset if she couldn't find her way back to me. She's also still learning social courtesies, so I like someone with her to make sure she isn't in anyone's way and to help her ask politely if someone is in her way (the road goes both ways, I believe). I was nearly abducted as a child so although I try not to be paranoid it is something I think about, so my dd is less free-range than I'd like because of this. I wish that retailers and places of business would put more thought into making their establishments child-friendly (as in, having a play space, or keeping breakables higher up, having wide aisles, etc.). I realize that not every storekeeper can do this, especially small shopkeepers, but there are many larger retailers who could but choose not to. I just think the world would be a better place if people could focus less on dollar signs and focus more on community and experiences, and if people would have greater respect for children in particular. I agree with the poster who said that many people have such a negative view of children, as in believing the worst of them (that they will run around and break things, etc.), which is probably not the case for the majority of children out there.
post #174 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
As a matter of fact, I have some pics of a recent shopping trip on my blog.
I love your husband's coat!
post #175 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by LuxPerpetua View Post
I wish that retailers and places of business would put more thought into making their establishments child-friendly (as in, having a play space, or keeping breakables higher up, having wide aisles, etc.). I realize that not every storekeeper can do this, especially small shopkeepers, but there are many larger retailers who could but choose not to. I just think the world would be a better place if people could focus less on dollar signs and focus more on community and experiences, and if people would have greater respect for children in particular. I agree with the poster who said that many people have such a negative view of children, as in believing the worst of them (that they will run around and break things, etc.), which is probably not the case for the majority of children out there.
I agree we're a community and a certain amount of support and tolerance would go a long way.

I think the question in some ways is whether stores are public, community spaces. For all the talk of the corporate citizen, I'm not really sure they are. On the one hand I think everyone has to eat, so supermarkets really should be the most tolerant spot – it's not like food is optional whether you're a slow, near-sighted senior or a toddler.

On the other hand, they are not benign entities nor is the space meant for any task other than selecting and purchasing food/product. Supermarkets in particular have deliberately placed "child-grab" items at child height (or cart height) - check out the placement of the most highly marketed-to-children items like sugared/character cereal, pasta, "fruit" snacks, etc. In certain areas of the store I think the hope is that the kids will explore, but not in a good way.

My local supermarket is all about the kids; they have kid-sized carts for them to push, and they put bins of Brand! New! Toys! right by the checkout – err, thanks.

I think a supermarket is a rich area to explore with one's kids, but I think it's important to remember that it's not designed for that purpose. My son isn't a very wild child, but there were several points in his toddler life and up to now (almost 4) where he really wasn't able to behave appropriately if he were down "exploring". End caps were a particular problem, as was the meat aisle (once he stuck his finger through the plastic wrap into raw chicken – oh joy! We bought the chicken. And hand sanitizer. ).

Basically I think if children really have true accidents, that's not their fault.

But if the kids are at an age where they can't follow directions a lot of the time, are getting increasingly wild or having a bad day, or if there aren't enough adults or older kids to truly supervise them, then we're talking about a foreseeable problem and I think at that point it's good for parents to stop the exploration. I think most people on the thread would agree.
post #176 of 182
It's easier said than done to make markets more child friendly. The reality is there are just going to be some places in this world that are not going to be child friendly.
post #177 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamatoablessing View Post
Actually, no. I guess I'd never thought of it that way though. So from that perspective, you're right. It could happen to anyone. But I have definitely seen accidents (and destruction of my products) involving little ones. See my previous post about the toddler scaling one of my produce bins.
Have you considered a policy of not allowing children in the store?

To the OP,
I see nothing wrong with what you are doing. It is so dangerous to let your kid tear around a store unsupervised, but that is not what you are describing.
My oldest is 6 and I still put him in the cart a lot, but he has sensory issues and stores really spaz him out. He doesn't mind, though. I think he actually likes it better. I let my toddler (19 months) explore with me or dh closely supervising. Never ever ever out of arms reach.
post #178 of 182
Walking with me or a little bit ahead of me is fine. Running, not really. I think it can be dangerous for the child and for older costumers who the child may run into.

I work in a grocery store, and I don't mind kids jogging down the aisle, but full out running can be really dangerous for a child. I've seen a couple of kids get hit by a cart when they came tearing out of an aisle. And even if the person is going slow, it's still a pretty hard hit for a little kid. I also work in the aisle with all the vitamins, bodycare, and herbs. I certainly wouldn't want them to fall and smack their heads on one of the shelves. Ouch!
post #179 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhf View Post
I'm not really sure what you're saying, since you started with how kids need to be allowed to participate but then ended saying you avoid letting your daughter participate.
I thought I was pretty clear about my feelings. It's important for kids to be allowed some autonomy based upon their particular maturity level. That is different for all kids. For my kid it's about 10 minutes tops. Of course, the next time I go to the store and she wants to go but I remind her that her behavior last time makes me hesitant to take her- well, that's a learning experience too.
post #180 of 182
No, my kids are not allowed to run around a store. They know they always have to be where I can see them, and they me. This rule cuts out 95% of the running around. The other 5% of the time if they act up, I will leave the store. Sometimes we hang around outside and come back in if I feel we've come to an understanding, other times we just leave empty-handed. They are 5 and 3 yo.
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