3 Magic Rules for Shopping with the Children.
In this article, I reveal three of my key strategies for simple and easy parenting in public. Whether it’s shopping at the mall or going to the grocery store, several key principles will help you stay focused and create a pleasant experience.
Secret #1: Your Words Won’t Teach What You Want Your Kids To Learn.
Your kids don’t need another lecture from you about how important it is for them to behave, or how frustrated you are. They don’t need you to tell them again about how you’re going shopping for them or how they have to be patient. Just give it up. Instead, your focus has to turn toward your actions as a parent. It will be your actions that teach them to be patient. To appreciate their choices and to honor the time that sets aside to take care of them.
Secret #2: Clarify the Shopping Agenda in Advance.
Before each of your shopping ventures, explain where you’re going and what to accomplish. You can discuss the purpose, the length, and what will be happening. However, contrary to what you’ve been told, it is an insult to your child’s intelligence to keep repeating simple behavioral guidelines every time you go out in public.
Bottom line: You don’t need to go into an explanation about their behavior. Instead, this is just a brief discussion to establish why you’re going shopping and what you’re going to be doing.
Insider Tip: No Impulse shopping!
The children must see you shopping with predetermined decisions. No impulse grab. This will save you many, many headaches as time goes on. Not to mention your savings account.
Secret #3: Follow the Three Strike Rule.
The 3 strike rule is this, whenever you are in public, your kids get 3 strikes.
On the first strike, you take the child out of the store and find the car or a bench where you take a five-minute silent timeout. Do this immediately when behavior is loud, obnoxious, whiny, negative, or disrespectful. You must be willing to walk out and have an “action-oriented consequence”. Sit until everyone is quiet for few minutes not before and don’t back down if it takes a while. This is the part where your children are learning a critical lesson.
The second strike is pretty similar. You walk out leaving whatever is in the store and you take another time out. This time, however, I suggest that you walk to the car and you sit in the car for 5 minutes of complete quiet time. You don’t have to lecture those kids about their whining or complaining. You don’t have to tell them to be appreciative. You don’t have to remind them of your expectations. Instead, you just take them by the hand and walk out to the car and do your timeout.
If you get to the third strike, it means you are done. Regardless of where you’re at or what you’re doing, you put it all down and simply leave. You could be in the middle of their school shopping. They will do without supplies for a few days. They could be off to summer camp and they needed some new sneakers but they’ll have to deal with the old ones. You can even be at the grocery store and you’re desperately in need of groceries. So it means eating grilled cheese for dinner. No worries! The natural consequence help with the teaching. The more your kids understand that you’re a parent of action and your action will lead the way, you’ll see that they’ll begin to honor the limits that you set. And you need to be willing to walk out of the store. You need to be willing to take a time out. You need to be willing to leave if your previous efforts haven’t made a difference.
Teach limits with firm clear action. Avoid those repeated lectures and make sure that your behavior leads by example and then your words will have more meaning as time goes on.