I HAVE a very active two-and-a-half year old son. It is very challenging to go shopping with him. He is quite a handful in the stores, and is very loud and demanding.
We used to take him out in a stroller. These days, he would resist getting into the stroller. He wants to walk around like us. I don’t want him to run around and start breaking things in the shops.
Any tips on how to shop with a toddler without him breaking into tantrums or drawing angry stares from shopkeepers? – Mother Of A Toddler
Shopping with a toddler can be quite a harrowing experience. Many parents of toddlers often choose to go out with their children when the shops are not too crowded.
Before you set out to the shopping malls, make sure your toddler is not hungry, tired or overwhelmed by too many activities happening in a day.
Don’t pack in a long, shopping trip when your child is still very young. Keep it short and simple.
Your child has limits to his attention span and energy level. He needs breaks for a snack, a drink or a short nap. Plan to do all your shopping within a short span of time and then take a break for fun and games with your toddler before heading for home.
Your toddler is naturally curious. He is fascinated and attracted by the displays on the shelves in the shops. If you tell him, “Don’t touch this or that,” he will keep on doing it out of curiosity. He does not intend to make you angry.
When something catches his attention, he may want to hold it or play with it. Tell him he can just look at it. You can say to him: “Let’s just look at it together.” Whenever possible, demonstrate to him how he can handle an object with care.
There is no place for an active toddler during the sales. I have seen many parents let go of their toddlers’ hands when they rummage through the sales items. Children get hurt when they are in crowded shops. With poor ventilation and surrounded by strange faces, many toddlers can feel very insecure and frightened.
If you are looking for a bargain, bring a relative or a friend along. Better still, arrange a play date for your toddler at a friend’s house. You can always return the favour at a later date.
Your child will not be able to take long hours of shopping during a sales. Your son can be quite demanding when you are lining up at the checkout. If you have brought along a nutritious snack and a drink from home, you can say to him: “The chocolate bar is not a nutritious snack. We have brought one tasty snack that you enjoy. You can have it once we are done paying for our groceries.”
Keep a leisurely pace when shopping with your toddler.
You may want to seek his opinion when making a purchase. You can ask: “Do you like the pink or the orange one?” When you ask your son for his opinion, he feels that he is a participant and not a bystander.
All children like the idea of being able to choose some items on their own. You can set up a small budget for your child to choose something for himself to make it more enjoyable for him.
If the item is too expensive or you feel it is not suitable for him, say “No” to him. At the same time, you may want to offer an alternative that works for him. Children do not like rejections.
They can accept it when you give them a reasonable explanation and a substitute.
You may feel tired during a shopping trip with your toddler. When you are exhausted, you may be less patient and understanding.
If you catch yourself feeling agitated by your toddler’s antics, let him know: “Mummy is feeling tired. We both need some fresh air and quiet time.”
Find a quiet spot in the mall. There’s always one where there are less people crowding around. Have a drink and read a storybook together. Once both of you feel better, then you can move on.