Single men and women may complain about never having time to run errands during a busy workweek, and God forbid they take time out of their plan-packed weekends to do so. Ok, ok, I cannot tell a lie - I'm one of those single people. But as someone with friend after friend with children and more on the way, I know they get sick of hearing me complain. After all they have jobs too and other obligations and children to boot, so I rarely have a shoulder to cry on when I whine about how inconvenient it is. At least I can move at my own speed without kids being dragged behind me, asking me to buy them this or that every two seconds and bursting into spontaneous World-class tantrums in the middle of a store.
On a good day however, when I'm having this sort of conversation with my nearest and dearest, I quickly clue into the fact that my honorary nieces and nephews seldom display this sort of behaviour. I've been out shopping with them and their respective mommies and/or daddies on numerous occasions, and rarely have I witnessed the sort of outburst you see from other people's children. And the kids always seem to be lucid, so I'm fairly certain tranquilizers haven't been involved.
So how is this accomplished? I was curious and so asked my friends what tricks they had up their sleeves. Here's what I learned:
* If you can run the errands on a weeknight instead of the weekend, do so and do it on a Friday. This way if everything runs a little later - dinner getting pushed up, then wind-down time and bedtime - it isn't the end of the world since the kids can sleep a little later on Saturday but be back on track Sunday (so the next school week isn't completely fouled up). This is simply because Saturdays and Sundays can be insane for shopping, as everyone else is shopping then too.
* If running errands on the weekend really works out better for you, there are a few things you must do before you even leave the house. The stores will be busy, lines will be longer, and the entire trip carting children around may take a while. This means they're likely to get bored, restless, and possibly hungry. Make sure they are well-fed with a healthy, nutrition-packed meal before leaving the house and bring healthy snacks with you as well as water or juice. Also, make sure each child has a favourite toy or game that is easily portable to help keep them occupied (nothing with small pieces or anything that could easily be lost or you're going to have a huge problem on your hands!).
* Another good idea is to ensure everyone has used the bathroom before you load them into the car and to make things go more smoothly once you are at a store or mall, schedule bathroom trips before you get started, between stores, or before you leave a store or mall. Otherwise the little tykes will all want to go at different times or more times than they really need to. It may seem weird to "schedule" potty breaks, but it works.
* Most importantly, make errand-running an adventure for the kids. It isn't as difficult as you might think and won't make the trip longer. This can be as simple as hitting the grocery store with your list and making a game out of who can find the firmest tomatoes or the largest apples and gather up the required number of each the fastest. Get the kids to help and reward them at the end of the trip with some stickers or prize of your own choosing, but keep it inexpensive and don't use candy. This is something you want to be able to repeat with each trip (though you may want to vary the prizes to keep them interested) and not have them begging for.
These tips are simple, they won't add any extra time or real effort to your trip and, lo-and-behold, they work. Adding a little structure to the day, bringing the aforementioned "survival" kit with you, and making errands fun instead of a chore will really change how your kids view the necessary evil of running errands. And, in turn, the whole ordeal will be much less of one for you!
Original article published by Ardra on Ezine Articles