Family-friendly shopping: Is it possible?

In answer to the title, of course it is.

For many of us, shopping with the kids can be a sluggish day at best. It’s not their primary idea of fun, yet with errands to be run, it has to be done.

While there are no hard and fast answers for shopping with every child out there, today’s guide should hopefully help most of you. Let’s now take a look at some of the best tips and tricks to adopt the next time you venture to a shopping district with the family.

Plan for plenty of pitstops (i.e., restaurants)

In the midst of any shopping expedition, your child is bound to become hungry. It’s a fact of life. Kids need to have regular pitstops, where they can either refuel with a snack or a full meal. In fact, sometimes it’s not even about refuelling; sometimes it’s about adding a break in the day that doesn’t involve hunting around aisles.

Unfortunately, at least in many cases, you do need to plan this element of your trip. For older children, it is easier, but if you happen to be accompanied by younger ones, try and reserve a seat in advance to make sure that you’re not standing in a queue for hours (well, maybe half) on end. Or, the alternative is to drop by just after or before lunch rush hour, which will at least mean that you’re not in the middle of a crush of people as you attempt to keep everything in check!

Plan your journey thoroughly

Depending on how you work with the time, you might want to plan out your day of shopping. This is especially true when visiting a place you haven’t previously been to.

You might also want to consider booking a play area, or another form of entertainment, in advance. In other words, organise your schedule and dangle a carrot to show that this day is about the whole family and there is plenty to look forward to.

For example, let’s take a look at Covent Garden. This might be renowned for its shopping experience, but if you look hard enough, there are plenty of places of interest for children as well. Try and build such experiences into your plan.

Keep it short… but sweet

If you’ve got a list of places to see, you might find yourself at the mercy of your child’s attention span. They will get bored, and they will be the first to proclaim this. In order to avoid this, try and hold nothing that will keep your child’s attention for longer than 20 minutes. This should be more than enough time for you to explore a shop or two, check out some of the latest sales, and get a feel for the situation.

This isn’t to say that your day of shopping should be over as soon as your child gives up. This is more about the fact that you’re dealing with a small area, with many places of interest. Make sure that you don’t push your luck beyond everyone’s limits.

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