YES I BRIBED MY KIDS!
I read somewhere “You haven’t lived until you have taken your kids to the supermarket!”
Well! I can safely now proclaim “I have lived!!!”
While I have always embraced home deliveries, this was an essential visit because all my options were exhausted and the house had to eat! With zero enthusiasm, some major prep talk and two kids in tow, I marched into Reliance Mega Mart! Just when I was beginning to thank my God, I spotted Mr. R being drawn towards the fruit pyramid like a bee towards honey! As I saw him reach for the second apple in the third row upwards, my heart fell right to the pit of my stomach! The entire pyramid of apples came cascading down. His retort to a very frazzled me was “Mamma, you said not to touch the cans. You didn’t say anything about apples!” SIGH! Silver lining to this: he remembered exactly what I told him. With a few apologies and wasted efforts to help retrieve the apples from the floor, this act ended. Soon enough the curtain to the next drama lifted with Miss I picking up a chocolate from another lady’s cart insisting that the ‘auntie’ had taken hers! The ‘auntie’ gladly handed the toddler the chocolate and moved on. My urge to take the kids and run out was building. I reached out for all my reserves patience and moved.
I paused often. Sometimes to put back unnecessary things that Mr. R tossed in the cart, sometimes to stop the baby from chewing through the packaging of food she picked from the cart and several times to re-assure them that they would get their sweet treats at the billing counter! By the end of it, I was ready to give my kids to anybody who would have them!
We managed to get things done and reach home intact! I needed a spa now! Shopping with the kids in the supermarket was hard work!
Much as I wouldn’t like to relive this particular trip again, here’s a bit of learning for my future reference. Hoping my experience helps some of you out there.
Shopping In The Supermarket With Kids Tip #1 – The Obligatory Snack Buys
So I figured it is only fair to offer my children a few sweet treats right before we started. Call it bribing, call it my way of handling it, whatever it may be. I had a feeling this would work. They could each get their choice of food, but wait; there was a condition. Pick one at the beginning of the trip (delayed gratification doesn’t work in the case of the toddler and hence the older one benefits too). The second one after billing. This way we could kick start on a happy note and the little treat at the end of it all would encourage them to help me finish my work quickly. This message they understood because they do know my penchant for not backing off (their father can vouch for this)!
Was this the right road down? I don’t know. But they were going to see what I put in the cart. My favourite Jim Jam biscuits, Papa’s morning brew of Davidoff and similar such occasional indulgences. It kind of felt hypocritical to say ‘no’ to them. The limit was set to two things. And I was going to stick to it.
Shopping In The Supermarket With Kids Tip #2 – Getting The Kids In My Favour
This is no rocket- science and all us moms work around this. I simply planned the trip at their best time during the day which is usually post breakfast. They were rested and fed. This meant that they would be able to cope with a two hour trip to and back from the supermarket.
Shopping In The Supermarket With Kids Tip # 3 – Lets Play ‘I Spy’
While mother hawk kept her eyes on the kids, the curious little eyes scanned the aisles for stuff. This game worked better for my older one than the toddler. We spied around for ketchup, tea (my son is learning to read and this turned out to be an interesting literacy activity), yellow coloured fruits (my toddler is getting a hang of colours and this helped her too). I let them explore and touch things. This helped their tactile sense and engaged them. The cold bar of butter, the squishness of powder….this was fun while it lasted.
Shopping In The Supermarket With Kids Tip #4 -Assign Jobs
Mr. R handed me the stuff from the shelves, handed it to Ms. I who dumped them in the cart she was riding on. This kept their motor energy channelized without any more pyramid collapses!
Shopping In The Supermarket With Kids Tip #5 – Go armed with all your efficiency
While I meandered through the aisles, watched my list and my kids, I really had no time to go back for things that I had left off the list. It is best to have an organized list. Huge reserves of patience will help.
Shopping In The Supermarket With Kids Tip #6 – Prioritize
I had to do this. My only plan when the kids started throwing a tantrum was to pick them up and run!! So I quickly got to the food section and continued thereafter. There are certain things the house just can’t function without. Get to those first!
Shopping In The Supermarket With Kids Tip #7 -That Little Prep Talk
Charting the lines around what’s going to happen, what to expect, why it is important that we get this done is time, these are the couple of things I think I needed to equip my kids better with. I confess , I needed to manage what they could expect a little better.
Shopping In The Supermarket With Kids Tip #8 – Leave The Mommy Paranoia
I realized this is the biggest lesson I took home. Kids will be kids!! I couldn’t let the angry looks and hisses of others phase me. They would look up to how I reacted under duress and it was only fair I remained calm. Besides, why would the entire world want to witness my shopping experience? So should there be a melt-down or a tantrum, smile and deal with it. These are your children. Handle them your way!
Mommy’s Food For Thought :- The presence of tantrums does not mean your child is a brat! It mean’s he still needs your help to learn. So be ok with that.