Get the timing right.

Think about when you plan to shop – if you can, try to go in the morning when they’re not tired, and not hungry. Take older kids to the toilet before you leave.


Don't over do it.

It’s easy to think ‘I’ll just pop into one more shop’ but little ones have short attention spans. Try to keep the outing to one or two shops – to avoid overtiredness. Be firm and talk about what you’re there to buy, and what you’ll do after. “We need to go to the supermarket, then buy those new shoes for you, then we can go to the park. Young kids don’t understand the idea of ‘window shopping!’

Limit the wandering.

Keep them strapped in the trolley if you can (or holding onto the trolley, if you’ve got more than one).

Keep them involved.

Involve them in helping create your shopping list “Do we need any…?” Let them choose between flavours – eg strawberry or apricot? Give them a job e.g. looking for something on the list. 

Stay strong when there's a meltdown.

Sometimes no matter what you do, something will set off a tantrum. If you have said no, stick with your decision be strong, be calm and don’t give in even if it seems easier. Kids will remember how it goes Want/deny/scream/get!

Ignore any stares.

Don’t worry about other shoppers – most will have been there. Remember, your job is to help your child and you are doing a great job!

Don't be afraid to walk out if you need to.

If things really are turning to custard – leave the trolley, and the store – come back another day. Or grab only what you really need (bread and milk?) and head to the checkout. This also shows your kids that there are consequences when they misbehave.

Plan your route round the supermarket.

Keep your trolley away from stuff you don’t want to buy and your child will want. Try to pick a lolly-free checkout if there’s one.

Give them a job at the checkout.

Let them hand you stuff or put stuff on the checkout counter Let them push the button on the EFTPOS machine. Thank them for being helpful. 

Distract them when you are waiting in the queue.

Play games like “I Spy’ with older kids while you wait. Break out snacks in a container or a special toy. 

If it’s gone wrong – learn for next time.

If something went wrong, don’t beat yourself up. But think about how you could avoid it next time. Remember you and your kids are doing the best you can.

Focus on the good.

Try to think of something positive about how they behaved and praise them for it. If you’ve offered a reward for good behaviour, try not to always make it lollies or biscuits. A game or trip to the park with you makes better memories than treats. Remember to let them hear you sharing with others how great they were to go shopping with.

Over it? Use your phone timer to set a time limit for a play activity – your full attention for five minutes is better than half pai for longer.

Need back-up? Family members might be willing to help but not sure what to do. . Be specific – “could you please bath/feed change/dress baby”

Feeling like a bad parent? Look around and check is there anything that could be dangerous to the kids? If not, relax – you’re doing OK!

Feel like you’re always on the go? Your kids are the most important thing - and they’re only young once. Think about what absolutely must be done now and what can wait.

Worried what others think of your parenting? What your kids think of you is what really matters! If you focus on them, you’re already doing a great job.

Feeling down? Talking with someone you trust can be the first step to finding help. Working out whether your feelings are temporary or more lasting is important. Depressed? Writing down your feelings in a daily diary will help you monitor whether it’s getting better or worse. This will also help you explain better if you go to your doctor.

Sick of yelling? Try singing your frustration instead. If you hop or jump at the same time, everyone gets the giggles — another great tension buster!

Feeling yuk? If no-one else can help with the kids, grab a pillow and blanket - set up camp in your lounge until you start to feel better

Had enough? You may feel like you need alcohol or drugs to relax – but they often make the situation worse, especially when you have to deal with kids. Who could help you cut down or cut it out?

Stress over unpaid bills? Have a banking setup that automatically takes money out for your main bills first. Then you know what you have left to survive on.

Determined to stay calm?

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Putting it all together

SKIP’s approach is based on six things which children need from parents to help them grow into happy, capable adults.

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  • Love & warmth

  • Talking & listening

  • Guidance & understanding

  • A structured & secure world

  • Consistency & consequences

  • Limits & boundaries