Study tips for stress-free shopping with children

Study tips for stress-free shopping with children

Shopping stress-free with children Survey results, personal insights and tips on everything to do with family shopping

Children of all ages have beautiful, but also difficult, sides – the latter can be seen quite clearly, for example, in the weekly bulk shopping in the supermarket. In baby age, when the changing table and nursing corner should not be far away, in toddler age, when children can not choose between sitting in the shopping cart and running themselves, or as a school child, when the offspring absolutely want to have the far too sweet crispy cornflakes from advertising – otherwise there is it a drama. No wonder that as a parent you start to sweat. We therefore asked more than 500 parents about their experiences, wishes and problems and put together tips on how to get shopping with children as stress-free as possible.

"When my child was screaming on the floor" – personal insights into the shopping behavior of families

The results of our survey provided a number of interesting insights. It became particularly clear that two camps of parents emerged that seemingly use different parenting methods: those who make clear statements and do not discuss and those who explain their decisions and the context to their children. Our educational scientist from the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster Maik Sawatzki assesses this as follows: “Generally speaking, it can be said that consistent, clear and clear demeanor of the parent is often the most helpful in such situations. The danger with explanations in the respective shopping situation is, of course, that the child in his situational anger and anger is currently not accessible to any kind of reassurance through words and sensible explanations. This may even further escalate the conflict because of a discussion between parent and child. Explanation is usually useful after the shopping situation, when the child has been able to calm down. As a parent, you should then look for the child’s proximity and explain the decision in peace. In the immediate situation, however, tend to be clear, clear and short announcements. "

When do families go shopping??

Even if it does not always run smoothly and often takes significantly longer, 85% of parents go shopping regularly with their children. Popular shopping times are on weekdays between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. or Saturday.



without child

How long does an average supermarket purchase from you take? (without child)

How long does an average supermarket purchase from you take? (with child)

Shopping cart pro and contra

As soon as the children are able to do so, they run themselves while shopping, whereby the child seat in the shopping cart is also used by almost 30% of parents. The advantages are obvious: you have your hands free and the child cannot run away. Special shopping carts such as the children’s shopping trolleys or the car with a basket are rated as helpful by 58% of those surveyed, 42% do not consider them to be useful. The main reasons are that

  • If there are two or more children, a dispute arises over who can push the small car or sit in the car,
  • the cars have a basket that is too small, are also difficult to steer and the children often do not want to get out after shopping,
  • or get bored while shopping and can just leave the car unhindered.

"If you are good, you will get a chocolate bar"

Opinions differ widely on the subject of “reward for good behavior”. While 71% of parents state that they reward their children for good behavior when shopping, many also criticize this measure because it contributes to incorrect conditioning and good behavior should be taken for granted. Our parenting coach also sees this danger, but finds such a "parenting tool" in individual situations, such as shopping, but unproblematic. Rather, Maik Sawatzki points out: "Ultimately, this avoids an active examination of your own consistency and" parenting competence ": If I can" calm down "my child with rewards, I may never have to act consistently and clearly. Many parents actually have problems with this, because it is often difficult to endure being the “bad guy” in such situations, because you love your child and only want the best. In the long term, however, you cannot avoid it. "

Can your child choose something when shopping if it was good?

When it comes to shopping, too: Learning by doing

It seems to be particularly important to many parents that their children are actively involved in shopping. There are many sensible reasons for this: On the one hand, the best way to learn is to do things yourself – this is how the feeling and handling of different products is trained. On the other hand, children are particularly proud when they have an apparently meaningful task and can make an active contribution. However, the situation is completely different when it comes to buying clothes: 87% of parents choose what to buy for their children themselves.

83% of the children help

Avoid or confrontation?

However, parents know only too well that children cannot yet resist all temptations to consume. That is why 39% of those questioned specifically avoid individual areas or aisles of the supermarket in order to anticipate discussions. However, if the children are already old enough and know where to find sweets, toys and comics, educational work must be done.

Problems, hurdles and wishes when shopping with children

With the help of our survey, we wanted to uncover typical stressful moments and parents’ wishes for retailers. Our survey participants particularly asked for toilets, which should always be easily accessible even while shopping, as well as a way to change diapers. Other demands that have been made frequently include:

  • Broad candy and tobacco-free cash registers (possibly even special family express cash registers)
  • wide aisles that are not blocked by displays or shelves
  • water dispenser
  • Shopping carts for different needs: for example for several children or twins, shopping carts that can be coupled to the stroller or with storage for a baby seat

Play corners, on the other hand, are not considered to make much sense, either because the child wants to shop with them and the learning effect would otherwise be lost, or because this would only unnecessarily prolong the purchase. A prerequisite for use is the presence of a supervisor who can ensure the safety of the children.

The checkout area was identified as a major stress factor by many parents: starting with the quirky goods and terrifying pictures on cigarette packs, to the long waiting times and the problem of putting the goods on the belt, paying, putting everything away and at the same time the child not to lose sight of. The exit of the store is often located directly behind the cash registers, so there is a great risk that children will simply run out while paying.

Other hurdles and problems are:

  • if the child wants to help with the checkout process, but all this is delayed and other waiting people glare
  • when the child simply does not want to hear, runs away, shouts or complains or takes goods off the shelves and maybe even tears them open
  • lack of time
  • Child’s fatigue
  • missing or too far away toilet, no changing facilities, missing seating or breastfeeding
  • too few parent-child parking spaces close to the shop
  • non-unbreakable goods that are within children’s reach
  • constant switching between running yourself and driving in the shopping cart

Despite many stressful moments, 80% of our respondents can stay calm while shopping and in 2 out of 3 cases they are the ones who are stressed. Other stress factors: the looks and whispers of the other shoppers (25%) and the annoyed cashiers and supermarket employees (18%).

By the way: If you get "well-intentioned" advice from strangers, especially in difficult situations, you should try to stay calm and not let a second source of conflict arise. The best thing to do is to meet them with a smile and either silently ignore them or "make it clear that you have your own way of dealing with such situations," says educational consultant Maik Sawatzki. “You are subject to external, social evaluation pressure from other shopping people. This can trigger thoughts like “Well, my child of all cries out here again, what kind of light does that throw on me?”. When so-called "well-intentioned" advice comes from strangers, many parents react – understandably – thin-skinned, etc. as a result of shame. Everyone certainly reacts differently here, but I don’t think that an aggravation of the conflict with answers like "Oh, take care of your own stuff" is rather not recommended here. "

This is not how shopping should work

Our survey participants report the most nerve-wracking experiences when shopping with their children. Please, dont’t try that! However, smiles and compassion are allowed.

My daughter lay down on the floor and shouted. At some point it got too stupid for me and I continued shopping. I listened to her scream and knew she was still in the supermarket.

She just ran away and five adults at the cash register let a 1.5-year-old child through and she was almost on the street.

My child was in dire need of "big" on the toilet and there was no way anywhere.

Playing my son’s hide-and-seek with his boyfriend while shopping for the weekend on a Friday. EVERYONE in this store was really annoyed. Me after my stressful week too.

When I took the "extra" out of the basket because of a quarrel and the granny bought it in front of me and gave the child with the words: "You can’t forbid everything to the child."

The middle child started to cry because he could not read yet and therefore kept hearing from the big one that he could not help, while the youngest got hungry and wanted to the chest.

My child ran away while reluctantly and screaming to put the other child in the basket. He was no longer to be found. Ultimately, he was found eating an apple under a shelf in the fruit department.

I: hungry and completely exhausted; Baby cries, child number 2 is tired and wants to go home, child number 3 is cheeky, does not hear and clears the shelves. The shop is full, the queue is long, nobody ever lets me go. My child bumps into people, the baby is still shouting the shop together and I’m just sweating. Get great advice from an older lady and am annoyed because the cashier is having private conversations. And then the famous phrase: "Mom, I really need to go."

How do I best deal with my child’s tantrums?

Certainly not an unknown picture for many parents: the child absolutely wants something when shopping and starts to scream and cry because, for example, they do not get the candy bar. Here, too, our educational advisor has helpful tips: “There are no magic recipes for dealing with such a situation. Which strategy works and which does not always depend on the child and, of course, on the parents, which makes them feel comfortable and safe. However, it is counterproductive to react to attacks of screaming with verbal aggression (roar back / scream). This brings additional explosives to the matter and drives the escalation. In addition, parents are so sure that the entire supermarket is now aware of the situation, which can be a really unpleasant situation. Especially when anger is at stake, conversations often do not help you. This would make the situation worse in most cases. Therefore, I think a mixture of clear, concise announcements and "leave alone" is most helpful. In any case, parents should not give in at this point! In the future, this will lead to the child learning: "If I am angry and cry, mom and dad will give in anyway."

In this case it can help to signal to the child that being angry is okay at first, but not the way of expression. That the parents have to help the child to deal with the anger differently – also in shopping situations. Because the feeling of “anger” is basically not a bad thing, but dealing with it is challenging. Therefore, the subsequent punishment of anger behavior is often discouraged, since the child learns to suppress his feelings instead of learning how to deal with his own anger. However, this is an important learning experience in the life of the child. "

20 tips: how to shop with children without stress and frustration

Be on the safe side from a legal point of view

Since something can break, especially when shopping with children, you will inevitably get to the point where you, as a parent, have to find out about the legal consequences and circumstances. We try to clarify the most important questions here, but also point out that it often depends on the specific individual case and therefore accept no liability for our information.

Who has to pay for it if my child breaks something?

Basically, it should be noted that children under the age of 14 are not legally responsible. So if they break something (whether goods or the establishment of a shop), the first thing to look at is whether the parents neglected their duty of supervision negligently and then may have to pay for the damage.

What can you do if someone illegally parks in a parent-child parking lot?

If you meet the driver of the car directly, it is best to simply politely point out his misconduct. But if nobody is in sight, you can’t avoid parking somewhere else. The supermarket also has house rights in the parking lot, so in principle it would be possible for the store manager to tow the wrong-way parking lot. Usually, however, this is not done because the dealer would have to pay the costs of the removal and only then be able to reclaim it from the driver – this effort is rarely justified, especially if there are many other free parking spaces.

What is the best way to behave if my child has taken something from the store without being noticed without being paid?

As mentioned at the beginning, children under the age of 14 are exempt from punishment. If it is a piece of chewing gum or similar small items that you cannot accuse the parents of having taken with you, it will most likely have no criminal consequences if the unpaid product is returned. In the case of larger items, it could be assumed that the duty of supervision was violated, so that the parents would then have to bear the legal consequences of this theft. In any case, you should return the product as soon as you notice it.

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