We took five with us on this trip: Ted (12) and Caleb (8) pushed the carts, as did Bryan. Jacob (6) ran items from me to the carts. Brigitta (4) and Heidi (2) were along for decoration. We shopped for over two hours at two stores with no meltdowns or whining.
What's the key?
Practice ahead of time! Take the children to the store - when you have no intention of buying anything! Explain the rules ahead of time:
- You will not ask for anything.
- You will not whine.
- You will not irritate your siblings.
- Children under ___-years-old will hold onto the cart when not riding in the seat.
- Cart pushers will keep carts in a single file to not block the aisles.
By going over the family's rules when you don't feel pressured to get the items on your list, you can spend more time on training. What if they fail the training session? They get to repeat it (preferably in place of a desired item like TV or computer time) as many times as necessary.
Our children enjoy the training time because we keep our attitudes cheerful. We want to have all our shopping times be enjoyable, so have that as the goal from the start.