Guest Author - Julixa Newman
Whether twins are three months old or 10 years, shopping with multiples is a daunting task. One's behavior and desires naturally influence those of the other children. To avoid being the center of attention in every store you bring the children into, read the following tips on successful shopping
After surveying lots of multiple moms, I have several ideas for avoiding the process if you feel it is just too much. Some larger stores designed for long term browsing/shopping (such as Ikea) actually have child care areas where you can check your children in while you shop. Some charge a fee and some do it as a courtesy, so call to ask about these services if you are curious. There are many moms who prefer to trade babysitting times with others so they can just leave their kids at home with a trusted friend or relative. Some mommies find that watching another set of twins (provided they are not cranky, or due for a nap) is not too bad-considering that twins are already used to sharing and conversing with another. As long as they get along, what is an hour or two with an extra two friends?
If you don't have friends in the area, other options might be to wait until a spouse returns to help, shopping online, or doing it late at night if possible while the children sleep. Some supermarkets are open very late, and some moms find it relaxing walking through the empty aisles at night. It might be the quiet time, or the fact that there is no rush to get back and find that the kids left a mess to be cleaned up.
If you must take the children, you can probably assume that they will need to be entertained somewhat. If the drive is long, children's music, a portable DVD player, or even books and dolls/action figures may help. Some moms prefer the books and dolls because it stimulates imagination more, but there are options for all. Another popular answer for easier shopping with younger children was to wait for nap time if the ride was to be long enough for a "power nap" or longer. Other answers included making the trip as quick as possible, and finding "interesting" methods of carrying the children. What that meant was to make it interesting for the children (don't we always?) by searching out creative carts, or bringing a plastic wagon instead of a stroller for a change of pace. The change up can create a different point of view from the stroller for the children while making them more comfortable.
Another good idea was to make a list of the items you were going out for; it shortens the trip and makes your trip efficient enough to complete. I know many moms whose children cried so hard or screamed so loud that they gave up the trip altogether!
If the children are a bit older, it might be possible to reward them with a little something for their behavior (after the trip is complete). Something inexpensive can be useful and done over and over again at little cost. A ten cent lollipop can do wonders as a reward. Other moms offer a reward system prior to the trip-even a point system if the children can comprehend it. Telling the children they will get reward points for good behavior throughout the trip can be a great idea for twins-one can remind the other; and one would never want to go without something the other is getting.