Good behaviour while shopping

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Have you ever seen those kids who are walking beside their parents and just waiting quietly while they go about their business and wondered how can I get my kids so well behaved?  Well it just doesn’t come naturally and it definitely isn’t personality.  It comes from a consistent approach to discipline and developing their social skills.  So what can I do?  Here are some tips to help.

  1. Keep calm
  2. Have simple rules for them to follow
  3. Practice the good behaviour for short trips
  4. Reward good behaviour (not with purchases or food as this will have the opposite effect)
  5. Let them know that it matters to you
  6. At first, keep focused on the mission – praise good behaviour (I love how you are standing quietly while I buy this apple), ignore bad behaviour.
  7. Pay attention to the behaviour you are looking for

If you follow these tips you will find that trips to the supermarket can become a joyful experience with discovery and treats.  If they are expecting you to buy things for them everytime you go to the shops, you are creating a ‘rod for your back’. This will cause behaviour such as “Why can’t I have it?”, “You don’t love me”, “That’s not fair” and “I want it nowwwwww”.  You really don’t want this, but by ensuring that they are not expecting you to purchase something everytime, they will be surprised with the occasional treat.  I remember my aunt saying to me

“Even the most special treat can become mundane if you have it every week or daily. Waiting for things and learning patience is half the fun”

What rules should I use?  It really depends on the age of the child.  Here is a quick guide.

Rules for 1-2 year olds

  1. Keep within 2 steps of the adult
  2. No touching things

Rules for 3-4 year olds

  1. Keep within 2 steps of the adult
  2. No touching things
  3. Only use inside voices
  4. No running

Ways to help them succeed:

  • Keep the outings short
  • Don’t go when they are tired or hungry
  • Bring snacks to eat
  • Don’t use screens to keep them busy
  • Show them interesting things around to look at
  • Ask questions and talk about what you are doing eg. This is an orange, can you find any other fruits which are orange?
  • Give them something to do or look for eg. Can you find the eggs and bread in the shops for me while we are walking around?
  • Don’t buy treats for them while at the shops – that will create issues
  • Wait out tantrums and keep a calm voice (Ignore any other people’s judgements as you are teaching your little ones about social skills. Just pat them on the back and keep saying the same thing. “When you have finished we are going to finish our shopping.”)  It’s really worth it in the long run.
  • Keep talking to them.

By Amanda Just

MEd, GradDipTeaching, BSc, Suzuki Violin
Copyright Amagination Pty Ltd 2018

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