I recently got together with my long-lost girlfriends from college, and we were reminiscing about how things have changed since we first met. Like, since when did grocery shopping alone become a luxury? Oh, but it has. And shoe shopping with kids? Between them getting bored (and cranky) so quickly, wanting to wear high heels like a princess, or “needing” the most expensive shoes just because all the cool kids have them… It has the makings for a major meltdown.
Luckily, we have our resident Martha Stewart of the group who always has fun little tips and tricks for the most random things in life. She had some great advice for stress-free shoe shopping with young kids, so I thought I’d share.
Shop the Styles Before the Store
It’s fun to look through magazines, websites, or my favorite, Pinterest, for inspiration. Print out styles, or save them on your phone or tablet, for a helpful reminder. Having a visual will help your kiddos stay focused when they get bombarded with a sea of colors, patterns and styles at the store.
One Kid at a Time
Shoe shopping is easier if you can take only one child at a time. If that’s not possible, at least lay down the order in which each child will be given attention during the shopping excursion. That way, they know when their light at the end of the tunnel is coming.
Feed Them First
It’s a scientific fact: Hungry kids equal cranky kids. Feed them a snack or light meal before you go shopping. Also, keep some healthy snacks stashed in your bag in case a little hunger creeps up among your troop. This is especially helpful if you are picking your children up from day care or school right before your shopping excursion. Or, you can reward them with a special treat at checkout time.
Keep your kids engaged by asking questions as you stroll the aisles.
- “Do you see any yellow shoes?”
- “Can you find the letter B?”
- “Can you find a box with the word ‘brown’ on it?”
Give them each jobs, like one checks the items off the list, one puts the unwanted shoes back in their box and shelf, and one puts the boxes on the counter at checkout.
Avoid Peak Times
My first choice for shopping is 10 a.m. on a weekday. My second choice is weekdays between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. I avoid weekends and from 4 – 6 p.m. during the week, if possible.
Take Your Time
Shopping with kids in tow — whether it’s for groceries or shoes — is no quick process. Allow extra time to get everyone’s feet properly measured, let them take a walk around the store in the shoes they like, read labels, etc. You’ll actually save time and frustration in the long run. Also, remember to get everyone’s feet measured every six to eight weeks. If you have little ones just learning to walk, get their feet checked every three to four weeks until they’re a little older.