Home ยป Family ยป 4 easy steps on how to survive a shopping trip with four kids in

4 easy steps on how to survive a shopping trip with four kids in

I tried to find a blog post I made about my first solo shopping trip with Jack and Emma when Emma was still a newborn but I don’t think I wrote one – it was THAT traumatic and we didn’t even make it into the shop. I have actively avoided taking the two of them alone anywhere since then – it was THAT traumatic!

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Last week I organised a wine coffee date with some friends in the afternoon which meant I would have ALL FOUR kids with me, on my own. I was so desperate for the adult company and wine coffee that I blocked out the previous trauma and just did it! Usually when I need the toddler to comply I make sure Cameron is close by but he had media duty and then soccer so was only with us long enough to eat his pizza and then had to leave again. So I really was flying solo.

Overall the trip was a success, no one berated me for the toddler break dancing outside Typo (I think if I had left him a few minutes longer the crowd would have thrown coins at him). The lady in the lift on the way to our car was very patient while Emma screamed because she was over tired. The staff at Big Blue refrained from kicking us out even though Jack wound up the robot toy in the box before I could get to him (toddlers can move surprisingly fast).

I did learn a few things that I think helped make it successful.

  • Feed them! I made sure both Kiara and Jack had something to eat. Jack in particular gets very miserable if he is hungry. Kiara gets very whiny and dramatic. If she doesn’t have access to food (chips/chocolate or 2 minute noodles if possible) every hour then she is on deaths doorstep, I have been accused of starving her before.
  • Have a plan. You can’t window shop with three kids in tow and you definitely can’t browse the sale rack at Woolworths. You need a very set plan of where you want to go and what you want to get.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff.This is actually fast becoming my mantra. Jack didn’t have shoes on, the fight to get them on, honestly was not worth it. Judge me – it’s ok ๐Ÿ™‚ My aim was to get what we needed to get and get out of there as soon as possible, if it meant letting Jack dance for while or allow Kiara to browse a little longer at Typo while she looked for a gift – I was going to do that. Because in the bigger picture does it matter?
  • Drink wine coffee with friends first. Ok this one isn’t always possible because you can’t always meet friends before you go shopping but it helped for this trip because I felt recharged, I had done a little something for me which I think helped to make me less tense for the whole trip.

Despite me vowing I would never take Jack to the shops again, I did and we survived. The security guard and Dischem did watch us as we approached, I suspect had we looked like we wanted to enter he may have actually closed the doors. We may even try it again this week.

Those of you with more than one kid – do you go shopping with them on your own?

PS – see how blurred this picture is? The camera on my phone has stopped focusing. I WANT TO CRY!





  1. 9 September, 2014 / 9:20 am

    Oh gosh, I only do it when I have no other option. Even just quickly into Spar. L can disappear in seconds – the other two are actually ok though

  2. 9 September, 2014 / 9:53 am

    I take two per outing if I am alone, never all three. Even when Seth is with me the three together are sometimes ridiculous to keep control of!

  3. 9 September, 2014 / 1:32 pm

    I really like your post. I have only one 3 year old and I have to really really really need something to take him shopping for any extended period. Usually I run in and run out as quick as possible.
    Anything involving long trips, I wait for Hubby.
    Preparation is key and you are so right: Do not sweat the small stuff.

  4. 9 September, 2014 / 8:33 pm

    OMW, Emma is so cute. I just love that picture of her!

    I wish I worked half day again so I could also meet you for coffee…..errr wine ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. 9 September, 2014 / 9:14 pm

    I will do it but I need a plan and I tell them so they keep me on track too. But it’s always quick – max 1 hour and I’m out!

    is this your iphone?????? (If yes, i’m crying with you!)

  6. 10 September, 2014 / 8:08 am

    That photo is just too adorable…Last shopping trip Aidan insisted on sitting on the marshmallows in the trolley and you know what, I let him because it kept him quiet…”don’t sweat the small stuff”: as you say ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. 10 September, 2014 / 10:35 am

    Hats off to you!
    Even keeping one more or less contained is sometimes a struggle.

  8. 11 September, 2014 / 11:12 am

    You’ve probably tried all these things, but here are some things to check for the camera. Take out the battery to do a proper restart. Check that there isn’t a smudge or something on the lens. Check settings that it focuses on the centre point.

  9. 11 September, 2014 / 3:45 pm

    I only go shopping with both if ABSOLUTELY necessary. I haven’t got it right to go with both on my own just yet.

  10. 14 September, 2014 / 6:31 pm

    I try to not take Son2 as he can’t always cope with the stimuli. That said, if I do go with both kids then I go as early as possible (like when the shops open), I make sure that they’ve had breakfast and I do reward each kid with a visit to their favourite shop. Son1 likes musica and exclusive books, Son2 likes the toy shops and the crazy store.

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