When I woke up this yesterday morning I was a mother with a mission. I needed new bras and I was going to get them that very day! This however meant that I would have to take all four children with me. My kids are actually pretty ok to take shopping, but getting fitted for bras was probably going to push their patience to their limits.
With this in mind I strategically moved through the following plan with the kids:
(1). Set up the expectations.
When we sat down and ate breakfast, I explained to the kids that we were going to go shopping today. We needed to go bra shopping for me and we would purchase the extra items (like pencil cases) that the older boys needed for school, once my purchases had been made. I also explained that once this was completed, we would go home via the bread shop to get some bread and that they could choose a roll each for lunch.
(2). Go in the morning.
I have taken the kids shopping in the afternoon before but find that this is usually less successful than the morning for two reasons; firstly we are all a little tireder at that time of day and secondly, the shops tend to be busier.
(3). Fed, Watered and Toileted .
We have early risers in our house, so for the younger children breakfast was at 6.45am. I made sure all four had morning tea and a drink before we left. Then as a last task before leaving, I made sure that we all (including mum) went to the toilet.
(4). Stick to the task.
After a longer than expected session in the fitting room, we moved through the womenâ€™s fashion department and a pair of bathers caught my eye. I started to walk over to have a look (because I also need a new pair of these as well), but stopped myself pretty quickly. I had already asked quite a bit of the kids. I achieved my goal for the day, and I needed to stick to the stated expectations and move on. There have been times when I have not done this and it has generally not worked out well!
(5). Donâ€™t rush their purchases.
For the 6 year old choosing the right pencil case is probably as important to him as my bras were to me. The fact that I think it is doesnâ€™t matter whether he gets the one with the green background or the yellow background is irrelevant. I need to be interested and let him have his time, so he can be happy with his purchase. We all regret those purchases made in haste!
The expedition actually went really well. There was one moment at about 11.00am though when I found myself in a fitting room with four children and a pram waiting and waiting and waiting, for someone to help properly fit me, that I did ask â€œWhy did I do this to myself?â€ But that was short lived and we all came home from the experience unharmed and still in good spirits. I just need to squeeze in some time to go back and check out those bathers!