Perfect behavior doesn't just happen at the grocery store... oh, wait, perfect behavior NEVER happens. But acceptable kid behavior can be trained. Somehow, we were able to train H early on what was expected when we went shopping when he was sitting in the cart. Bug on the other hand is constantly testing the limits sitting in the cart, and we have entered a new level of training for H as he walks next to me. It is so tempting to save all shopping (grocery and other) for when Mr. Steady can watch the kiddos. However, I am determined that I can successfully do our shopping with my kids without becoming flustered... it is after all a part of my job as a stay-at-home mom.
Please know that I am not saying that I do not enjoy the times that I get to leisurely peruse each and every isle or rack all by myself. There are situations in which shopping solo is the way to go, I just don't think that should be our constant default as moms (just my opinion).
Here is what has worked for us (okay part of this post is just a reminder for myself too)
When they are little and can sit in the front of the cart, have the expectation that they SIT. Bug went through a phase where she was constantly trying to stand. A few times, I picked her up and held her, which made my shopping much more complicated. So then I would consistently say, "Bug, on your bottom, " or "sit down please." It took a few shopping trips of helping her back on her bottom, over and over again. Yes she cried in protest, but it was worth it. She no longer tries to stand or get out of the child seat. I think it also helped that I started tightening down the safety belt too : )
H-man is now big enough to walk with me. I usually have him keep one hand on the cart, if an isle is too narrow, I will have him walk right behind me until there is room for him to walk next to the cart. Again, this never goes perfectly, but we have seen great improvement lately. I try to prepare him as we are walking into the store, reminding him of what the expectations are. "H, when we get in the store, I need you to keep one hand on the cart (or stroller) and not touch anything unless I ask you to. Sound good?" Occasionally at the store, I will have him help pick something out. "Buddy, can you pick out what kind of granola bars you would like, and put them in the cart?' He really likes that.
One idea I have yet to try for H is to have a shopping list for him (either pictures or words he can sound out). Teach Mama has some great ideas on doing this here. I am going to work on creating these picture lists for H, I think he would really like to be in charge of the list!
My two issues with Bug that we are working on is that she likes to reach behind her and grab the groceries out of the cart. Which is fine if it is box of crackers or something, but when it is a bag of grapes and they spill all over when she tips it... not cool. So I am thinking that all grabbing of items, is going to be a "stop" (our version of "no no"). I have tried to give her an item to hold on to, but then she chucks it on the ground, when I pick it up and don't give it back to her, she pitches a fit and it is all down-hill from there. My second issue with Bug, is when she decides shopping time should be over and starts fussing. She is still not understanding "wait" or "be patient please." Snacks have helped lengthen her patience while shopping, but is that really training her or am I just appeasing her? Any suggestions? What works with your kids? Especially little ones?
Today, I was feeling crafty so I brought the kids to JoAnn Fabrics so I could look at ideas for my crafting craving, however, Bug was an awful shopper.. She whined, cried, protested, and all I did was appease her. Uggh, I am at a loss with this girl. I know you can train kids not to whine, but I don't know what will work for her.
Maybe, the fabric store was too slow of a pace with me stopping, looking, feeling, comparing... maybe this is an outing for just Mama next time. Besides, whining really stifles my creative juices too : )