Yesterday over at Snappy Casual, Kelsey's husband, Eric, did a guest post on shopping with your spouse. Practical advice. It got me thinking though, what about shopping success with babies/kids?
Here's what I've found to work well:
1) Go first thing in the morning, or fresh after a nap and snack. Hungry, overtired kids are not fun kids.
2) Send those over two years old to the bathroom before you leave. Chances are, there will still be an inconvenient urgent search for a restroom, but it's best to minimize the risk.
3) Pack water and snacks. Even if you plan to be back before snack/meal time. It can serve as a great distraction if meltdowns occur when you're waiting in line etc.
4) Have an extra outfit/underwear in the car and/or diaper bag. You never know what could happen. Frequently, poop and spills happen.
4) Bring stroller and favorite babywearing product, even if you don't think you'll need it. Mall trips often mean I switch between the stroller and wearing Bauer. Typically because Bauer gets tired of sitting in it and wants me to carry him, but there have been a couple times where it turned into the " chill out" (you know, trying to preempt the need for a time-out) chair for Emberly.
5) Have a "reward" for older children (and reward breaks if the length of the trip warrants). Emberly enjoys walking through and playing on the computer at the Build-a-Bear shop at the mall. So I make that the last stop, provided that she behaves the rest of trip. Our outdoor mall has a splash plad and playground, which you saw them playing at in my "bits and pieces" post. At Trader Joes, she likes to get a sample, or ask for animal cookies if the sample isn't kid-friendly.
6) Have reasonable expectations. Kids and babies are just that, kids and babies. A fun trip can turn sour in a millisecond if you're expecting them to act like little adults for hours on end. Know when it's time to "quit while you're ahead" and when to "cut your losses."
7) Do take them out. Kids need these experiences to learn how to behave in public and parents need the experience to learn all the little tricks that work to help them have fun with their kids in public. I'm sure every parent reading this can add 3-4 more points that have worked with their kids!