Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Shopping with Kids Less Than Awesome

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Shopping with Kids Less Than Awesome

Article excerpt

My children's ages are 7, 5, and 3. I love them dearly, but would rather moonwalk barefoot on hot coals than take them on a long shopping trip without my wife. Thankfully it is not required often, but when it is, I expect chaos.

I like to be efficient in my shopping, and having three children in tow can crush any hope of sticking to a prepared, organized outing. In addition to trying to achieve the goal of the mission (purchasing the items you planned for), you also end up conducting a guided tour of the store.

That would not be such a challenge or even a dreadful endeavor - if it was only one child asking questions.

Instead, it is a hailstorm of questions, each interrupting another. And while you provide an excellent answer for a question, the 3-year-old has decided to hide under a clothing rack, and the 5-year-old has selected a festive looking shower curtain from someone else's shopping cart.

I never want to discourage the questions, as I truly appreciate and value curiosity. It is the frustration of being unable to adequately answer questions, keep everyone together and not running into or in front of other patrons, and do the actual shopping that makes this not so fun.

Not to mention that without some structure, some way to involve the kids in helping with the task at hand, you will inevitably hear, "Can I have this?"

If you say no, you fear that you look like a mean parent and risk an embarrassing outburst. If you say yes, you risk setting the precedent that every single trip to a store results in a kid expecting a gift - or in my case, three kids expecting gifts.

I say no and quickly try to refocus their attention.

I do not want to be the dad barking orders, scolding or threatening, "Wait until we get to the car."

I have learned that it helps to have them bring something with them. They each get to walk around engrossed with something that interests them, and I am able to get the necessary supplies - rushing to finish before they become disengaged. …

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