As a child, I loved playing Nintendo. You know? The original. The one that had the rectangle controllers and red circle buttons. Classic. Mario was my favorite game. I would have dreams at night about finally getting to the castle with the princess inside.
“Gilbert, we’re going to the store. Turn off the game.” said my Mom.
“Ugh.” said the little me inside. Gotta turn off the Nintendo.
But, that did not mean that I had to turn off Mario. I went around the store still playing the game. My mom thought I liked touching anything and everything that was in the store. Not true. I was imagining that my hand was Mario and the boxes where the lands I had to navigate. When I reached the end of the aisle, I completed the level. “Ooooh! The cereal aisle is next!” as I anticipated hopping over the Tony the Tiger and the rooster on the corn flakes box.
As fun as that is, I – along with my mom and dad – were very fortunate that I did not break anything on my Nintendo adventures (in fact, they should have probably unplugged me for awhile.) Still, if and when I’m blessed with my own children, they’ll have fun, but I’ll have some tricks up my sleeve to keep them occupied in the store.
For example: Shapes
It’s easy to look around the store and find shapes. You’ll just have to make it a game. Like, playing the game “I Spy.” If your child does not know a lot of shapes, then stick to one shape. Such as, “Let’s see where we can find circles in the store.” You can up the difficulty from there.
I’ve observed a lot of parents giving their children cell phones to play games. I see this practice as a way to keep the child quiet and occupied while shopping (and give the parent some temporary peace while shopping). I’m not against that. We all need our breaks. But also take the time to engage with your child that is fun and meaningful. The more teaching/parental skills you have, the less stress you’ll be under. Trust me!