- Don’t do it. A Fight or Flight response to this emotionally charged situation is only natural. A Fight will inevitably occur so try and book a Flight to a nice, catered hotel instead. Not realistic? Either leave the kids with someone else or order delivery. Delivery is such a timesaver and stress avoider but it can be more costly.
- Have a list. I compile my list and save it on my Outlook calendar and look at my phone to review. It is most efficient to limit grocery shopping to once a week, so keeping one list allows you to note items as you remember throughout the week. It will be much easier to sort out your choices versus your desperate giving in to children’s whining when it’s all typed up.
- Don’t let retail psychology get the best of you. Stores use many of the same practices as casinos to try and ensure much the same outcome. It’s up to you to make your trip short and productive. Examples of some tricks: no clocks and few windows to distract you from the sense of time, offering free drinks to extend your time there and perk you up, layout of store to encourage the most walking through, etc. The general idea is the more time you spend in a store, the more money you will spend there. When shopping with children, time is your enemy so stick to your list and avoid meandering from your path.
- Make it interesting for the kids. If you can’t beat em, join em. So you have these little people here with you. Let them read prices, sort products in the cart, load and unload, be on the hunt for products you need, etc. Keeping them busy will limit their time of asking for things.
- Sugar is not your friend. Your children may ask for it. It may seem like a way to keep them busy. But the 2 minutes of peace will backfire and lead to a 30 minute hyper phase. Don’t shop hungry – either you or them. But if you must let them have a nibble, stick with protein.
- Keep it cheap. You will inevitably buy at least one item purely because your children asked. But you can avoid overspending in other ways. Limiting your trips to once a week will save you from extra impulse buys. Know that when a store has a super duper price offering, this “loss leader” is really intended to get you through the doors, but they will make up for the cheap pricing in other ways. Often, if one food is on sale, for example, peanut butter, a complementary product, for example jelly, will probably cost more. If you don’t need the jelly, don’t fall for this trick. Hold out until you either need it, or it goes on sale. Also, avoid the end aisle temptations. Often companies actually pay the stores to place their items there so this nice looking setup has nothing to do with offering you a great value and everything to do with getting you to buy something you didn’t need in the first place.
Remember the golden rule for consumers: Caveat Emptor (buyer beware)—with children, it’s more like Cavities Temptor. Good luck and may you get the smooth wheeling cart and the fast moving checkout line.