Shopping with Kids Without Losing Your Mind

You love your kids. Nobody doubt this. You love your kids immeasurably but…you really hate taking them with you when you go to the store—especially if that store doesn’t have any toys or things that are interesting to tiny humans. Unfortunately you aren’t always able to simply hire a sitter or drop them at a friend or relative’s house to ensure a peaceful shopping experience. So what do you do?

Shop Online

The number of things that you can buy online these days is staggering. It’s not just books anymore. Now you can order your groceries online—even from local stores. Ordering online is great because it saves you tons of money (sorry brick and mortar stores but it’s the truth). It can also be done in bits and spurts while taking care of your kids. The other major benefit of shopping on the web is that you can have things delivered. You can take advantage of the various shipping options offered by each company so that you don’t have to try to figure out how to fit your stuff and your kids into your car.

This is particularly helpful when you want to take advantage of that Cost Plus World Market coupon that came in the mail.

Hands in Pockets

One of the best rules that you can implement when you take your kid with you to the store is the “hands in pockets” rule. This allows your kids to look at whatever they want but keeps them from picking up (and potentially damaging) it. You might not want to enforce this rule in every store—it would be torture in a toy shop after all, where things are meant to be played with. In department stores or shops with breakables, though, it can be a lifesaver.

Play Areas

Take advantage of play areas. Many department stores have started building play areas where kids can be dropped off to play while the parents go shopping. They security in these places is very strict so you know your kids will be safe. It allows them to play with other kids and to blow off steam from being trapped in the car for a while and you can get your errands done. It’s a win-win.


If your children are very young, practice going to the store with them before you leave the house. Talk over the rules and what you expect from them behavior wise once you get to the store. Play-act the process of going down an aisle or browsing in a shop. Show them the behavior you want to see. Kids learn by emulation. Give them excellence to emulate.

Shopping Out Of Town

A fun thing to do anytime you are on vacation is to check out the local shopping scene, but these areas can be unfamiliar for you and your kids, which will make any parent more nervous if their child wanders off. When traveling be sure to keep the kids with you at all times and make sure they understand the importance of being near. Even when using ground transportation options to get to the airport you need to do a head count, nobody wants a home a lone type situation!

What are the best ways you’ve found to keep your children calm and behaved while out shopping?

About race

I'm a Mom with three kids juggling between my corporate work and online writing job. This is my site about gift ideas, deals, shopping and technology.
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