Any mother will tell you that marketing with children is “challenging,” which is just another way of saying, “it makes me want to stick forks in my eyes.” I completely agree! Now that my twins are nearly seven, the hell has eased up because they listen to reason and logic, and can mostly resist the temptation to run wild in the aisles,  ripping items from the shelves faster than I can yell “STOP!!!”

The days of handling two toddlers by myself inside of a market full of exciting looking items still sends shivers up my spine. Copious amounts of snacks like yogurt and fruit cups help… But the most important tools I have found for handling children in the market are a great attitude, a firm resolve, and communicating limits to children before entering the market.

A GREAT ATTITUDE
As parents we have the choice to connect with our children by being respectful, holding space, acknowledging feelings, and having fun. It’s not always easy but the connection gained through those efforts affords us the chance to also set limits in a loving way. Often, those limits will be accepted because the child feels that respect and connection. It’s no different than any other loving relationship, right?

A FIRM RESOLVE
I don’t give my children an electronic devices to hypnotize them while going down the market aisles, so I have to deal with real life and that means lots of requests for things I don’t want to buy. My solution: I know that if I pay attention to what they are interested in, often they can let go of it because they feel satisfied just by the experience of talking about it. It goes something like this: “Mommy, look at this chocolate puff cereal!!! Can we get it? Pleaseeeee!!!!!” My response: “Oh, wow. That does look delicious, doesn’t it? Look at the cute animals on the box! I bet that makes your stomach feel awful. Let’s find something yummy that makes you feel good.” I stick to it; I do not let them suck me into some debate that ends up with me resentfully buying some thing I don’t want in the house. Nope! I’m just super sweet, and move right on down the aisle…

COMMUNICATING LIMITS TO CHILDREN BEFORE SETTING FOOT IN THE MARKET
I have a motto with my kids that pretty much sums up the two things I ask of them in public places: Walking Slow, Voices Low. Meaning, please don’t be the obnoxious kids screaming and running in the market, wreaking havoc and being unaware of others around you. So, RIGHT BEFORE we enter the market, I usually pull Jade & Jett aside and say, “ok, what’s Mommy’s rule for public places?” Then I might also add, “today we are going very quickly through themarket so stay close and help me please,” or, “you may each have one treat, so please choose wisely.” It’s important to do it RIGHT BEFORE you walk in to set the tone for the adventure ahead!

What are your tips for handling children in the market?

Good luck! xxx, Leah

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