Expectations for young siblings when running errands - Page 2
I once had to abandon a cart full of groceries at the supermarket customer service desk because I felt my kids' behavior in the store was obnoxious. However, in general I'm pretty lucky- my DH does the stock-up supermarket shopping, which means that I only need to make occasional trips to the store. 19 times out of 20, I limit food shopping trips with my kids to the little butcher shop/grocery near our house and to Trader Joe's, which is pretty small compared to the supermarket. My kids behave better at those stores as opposed to the supermarket, which is bright, loud, and full of temptation in the form of junk food. The employees at the butcher shop know us by name, which gives my kids a feeling of importance, and Trader Joe's is just plain fun for the kids- they get stickers from the cashier, and I usually let them pick out a small treat before we checkout. At those stores, I do insist that the kids either walk with me or ride in the cart. I won't put up with my kids running away or getting in the way of other shoppers. I remind them that they are a part of a larger community, and that they need to have consideration for those around them.
Sometimes DH will take one of the kids to the supermarket when he goes shopping, but since it's one-on-one time with dad, the kid in question always behaves well.
My kids are 9, 10 & 12. They have ALWAYS come with me unless they were in school. From the beginning I had the expectation that they will behave. They have thrown tantrums, I ignored them & kept shopping. Between the 3 kids they've had 6-10 tantrums in the stores because I would not cave to their wants(leaving or getting a toy/candy). They found out quickly that a tantrum does not work.
My shopping trips take 3 hours through 3-4 different stores. I always made sure it was not nap time and they were fed before going or they had the promise that we'd eat out once we were done in x store.
If they got antsy about shopping I gave them a shopping job to do(ie, get the toilet paper, whatever thing we needed in whatever aisle).
When my kids were 3 they were often still in the cart. I would pile groceries around them until I had to put groceries on them & then they had to get out & walk. There were a few times I had a sleeping child in the cart & stuff got piled on them.
These strategies worked with my 3 kids when they were young & still work now. When they were babies & I was doing babysitting there were times I had 7 kids in the store with me & they all behaved because they knew what behaviour I expected & tolerated.
Your expectation to shop with a 3 year old and 6 year old without trouble is perfectly fine. I had three kids that were three years apart and I never shopped without my kids. Or tried on clothes or went to the doctor....! Fast forward to the teen years and I would give my right arm to be in the grocery store with with a 1 year old, 3 y/o and 4/o!
Here are some ground rules that will help accomplish that goal...
Go in the morning, immediately after breakfast. You never want to go near lunch or nap time. NEVER
Set up guidelines of acceptable behavior - # We watch out for others and don't get in the way..... # A good line for keeping inside voices - Who needs to know we are in the store kids? Just us!
# Mommy needs to be able to see you all the time # Keep your hands to yourself unless Mommy has asked you to put in the cart. Discuss this while driving to the store. Needs to be fresh in their minds.
Before you go in the store - let the kids know that if they are helpful and cooperative (cooperate is the operative word here) then they are allowed a simple toy as they leave. Let them have a small round rubber ball - something cheap from the school supply section. My gosh - my kids loved getting pads to write on! Anyway - don't let them pick this out until you are completely finished. You never never want to let them hold the object while shopping.
While shopping keep a constant dialogue with the kids about what they think they want when you are finished.
While shopping give them a list (for the 6 year old, this is perfect) to read. As you come to the aisle that has their items - ask them to read their list. You can even do this for the three year old. Three year olds love to pretend they can read and write. You give the three year old a list, tell them what is on it and remind them as you approach the items.
Make them your little helpers!