Making it Through the Store

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Making it Through the Store

After a very busy weekend of kids’ activities at my house, Monday has arrived! Bleary eyed, I rolled out of bed and headed straight for the coffee maker. As we made our way through the morning routines, I was chatting with my girls, ages 5 and 8, about what we would need for Thanksgiving. Yes! It’s only three days away! We have a phrase in my house called “TGI Grandma”…which you can probably figure out, means “Thank Goodness It’s Grandma!” She is always well ahead of me in the planning of any gathering or holiday function, which I grumble about, but am secretly VERY thankful to have her brain focusing on it! Otherwise, I swear sometimes we’d miss a holiday completely at my house! (Love you, Mom!)

So, this was a TGI Grandma moment. Grandma would be hosting Thanksgiving, but there are a few little traditions that the kids and I like to make…pilgrim hat cookies and homemade cranberry sauce, to name a few. The girls and I were making a mental list of all the supplies we would need, and I started to realize that I’ll need to hit the dreaded GROCERY STORE between today and Thanksgiving! My very LEAST favorite thing to do is shop…for anything. I know. I’m weird. If I could order a cooked turkey with my Amazon Prime, I would! (Heck, you probably can!)

Whether or not you enjoy shopping, taking children to the store with you can be one of our BIGGEST CHALLENGES! In a recently posted article, Developmental Specialist, Stephanie Saikaly, talks about some ways to avoid those “supermarket meltdowns”. What I love about her thoughts, are that many of them give us ideas to try BEFORE we get to the store. I like to call this “preventing the fire”. If you talk about what you’re going to do, and plan for the trip, your life and your experience will be so much better!

Here are some examples…write your list out before you leave – this way, you are still at your house, the kids are busy playing, and you won’t be mind-boggled staring at the overwhelming amount of items in the aisle, as your child tugs on you and cries, and Christmas music is playing in the background! Fa-la-la-la-HELP! Add to that, cut those coupons or gather your savings codes before you leave the house!

Talk about over-stimulating! Keep in mind, as you search for your perfect turkey…if the store is overwhelming to you, then you can guarantee it’s overwhelming to your child! The calmer that you can remain, the more chance they will follow your lead. “If Mommy is okay, then I’m okay.”

Plan for your child, too! Let them choose a favorite stuffed animal, truck or toy to hold in the cart. Decide ahead of time what the rules will be…are we riding or walking? Are we holding Daddy’s hand or on to his pocket?

I had a beautiful system down with my oldest – granted he was an only child then…haha! But I knew the store inside and out. I also knew that with my cookie card, I could get him a small cookie at the bakery. I also knew the kind deli clerks would gladly give him a piece of cheese, and that at the soup counter, I could snag a packet of crackers or two. So, if you have a kiddo that likes to snack, pick your battles and go for it! Will it spoil his lunch? Possibly, but isn’t it easier than having a meltdown in the store?

For older kids, have them read and cross off the list. Even with 5-year-old Sydney at the store this weekend, I was able to say, “Mommy wants 5 bottles of soda, and they are $1 each. How much will that cost me?” She LOVED figuring out the math for me! It took a while, but she did it and was proud! And I was able to gather a few more items as she counted the bottles in the cart. If your child is not yet a reader, and you want to be really creative, draw or circle in an ad what you need…they won’t judge your art skills! It’s not hard to draw grapes…just saying!

Avoid going at the busiest times. I used to purposely grocery shop with my kids during the Steelers games! (Don’t hate me.) Here in Pittsburgh, nobody is at the store between 1:00 and 4:00 on a Sunday. It’s just a fact! Don’t, however, try to go immediately before a game! It’s packed. Another bad time is evening rush hour. Everyone is stopping for their last ingredients after work and before dinner time. Avoid your child’s nap times, or going right before bed. It sets you both up for difficulty. Plan for success!

Make your trip as short as possible. Remember, especially for those kids who are sitting, and those who are behaving properly, they are KEEPING IT TOGETHER for you! And they are certainly not getting any exercise out of this deal if they are in the cart! Make your trip quick and let them move again and be silly after! End on a positive note…lots of praise, high fives and hugs for a job well done. 1393666_10202496828206006_709774830_n

What are some of the techniques you have used to survive the grocery store? Comment for us, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!