Most of you (including Steph), may think that I’m insane, and perhaps I am in some ways. But, one of my very favorite things to do on a quiet afternoon when not much else is going on is to go shopping as a family. Just yesterday me, the hubs and babes loaded up the car to head to Whole Foods to grab some items and I found myself thrilled at the prospect of me and the kids wandering around the store selecting our goodies to bring home.
One of the ways I make shopping fun (especially the weekly grocery errand), is to find ways to involve Reagan in every part of the shopping experience. Where, if I’m shopping alone I will throw things in my basket as I select them, when I have my two-year-old with me, I find that I can get a lot more done without her screaming to be held/get down/stand up/turn around etc if I find a way to get her to “help” me.
Helping can take on a number of forms. Here are 5 things I do to help me maintain my sanity and have fun with my toddler as well.
1. Enlist a Helper
Reagan can place apples or pears into the bag. (It’s tricky, but I select the apples and hold the bag and allow her to place (or throw) them into the baggie.) I also like to find things that won’t break if she throws them into our basket (most veggies, boxed cereals/grains/pasta, some frozen items etc.) I hand her the item off the shelf and let her toss it into the basket. Sometimes she gently places it behind herself in the basket, but I don’t count on it.
Sometimes we look for animals, shapes and colors on the merchadise labels. (An idea I borrowed from a veteran Scottsdale Mom.) She just about ALWAYS points out cows, dogs, cats, octupus’ etc that she sees scattered about the stores on products and in-store signage. I just go with it and I try to find the next one. I’m looking forward to when she knows her colors and shapes because it just means more we’ll have to “talk” about.
3. Schedule more than enough time
I love to dilly-dally, smell the roses, take my sweet time… I can’t always, but when I am able to do so, I cut down my anxiety about how Reagan will behave. I have plenty of time to correct her and let her try again. If we both have enough time then she can see, touch, feel everything and I can get the groceries home without forgetting anything AND without getting frustrated at her for acting her age.
4. Make a List
So this one might have the “duh” factor, but if I don’t have a list, then I get too focused on all the cows we find in the milk section and forget that we also need yogurt.
5. Be prepared to abandon ship
Just before Elliot was born, Reagan was at the worst age for grocery store trips. She drove me nuts. Right around 18 months old, she wouldn’t sit still, screamed to be held, on and on and on. I took a “time out” from taking her shopping for a little bit. I just needed to gather up the mental strength to correct her during her shopping trips. Yes, I needed the strength.
Check back this afternoon for Steph’s perspective on shopping with the kiddos. (Hint, we have VERY different takes.)