Your child is one of the most precious things in the world. It doesn’t matter if you’re a biological parent or your son or daughter is adopted. You love your child more than anything else in the world and not only want what’s best for them but to keep them safe as well. This means that going out to the shops may be an exercise in anxiety for you.


Whether you’re at the local mall or the corner cafe, there is always a lot going on. There are strangers all over the store, a few hazards, and ways in which your child can be easily lost. Thankfully, it’s not as crazy as the movies and TV shows make it out to be. Here are a few ways to keep an eye out on your kids while at the store.


Security measures

Almost every store will have security measures in place, which is mostly to protect them from theft and other issues. From the US to Nigeria, stores may have turnstiles, coin-operated trolleys, security guards, or gates. And when you’re only a few feet high, all of these can seem like fantastic playthings. Unfortunately, they can also be dangerous.

Make sure your children know what each of these things does and what their purpose is. While a turnstile may look like apparatus from the local park, it can cause hazards if a child runs into it the wrong way. And while you will be teaching your children about stranger danger, make sure they aren’t afraid of security guards, who can help them in the event of an emergency.


Other shoppers aren’t always pleasant

Let’s face it, going shopping (even on your own) can be a tedious and tiresome task. Everyone feels this way, which means not everyone will be happy about kids running around or getting in their way. You know your child and their intentions best, but others might not. If your child accidentally runs into another customer or irritates them by accident, it could lead to a nasty confrontation.

Make your child aware of their surroundings and of other shoppers as well. While it’s fun to run and play in open spaces or between isles, not everyone else feels the same way. This is the environment in which to teach your child about spatial awareness and how to not encroach on other people who they don’t know. Conversely teach them how to deal with others entering their space and of course, about getting out of dangerous situations or interactions.

The same can be said for trolleys. Your child might be old enough to push one on their own, but lack the strength to control it. In this case, walk in front of the trolley with one of your hands on it, guiding it at all times.

After all, do you really want a stranger yelling at you and your child? It can be traumatic for a small person that is still trying to understand the world.


Story displays

While brands and shops love displaying the latest goods or sales items to entice customers, they can be a hassle. Not only are they often placed in the way, making walking difficult, but they can attract children as well. If a child knocks over a display, store management might not be all that understanding of the issue.

Explain to your child that these displays aren’t for climbing on or exploring. Their actions may cause a display to topple over, which could result in them being injured. There’s nothing wrong with having a child that wants to explore – it’s great for learning – but can be a bit of hazard as well.


The sweets and toys isles

What child doesn’t love sweets, chips, and shiny new toys? These isles can be a nightmare for parents as kids nag for something new to play with or snack on. Thankfully, they can also be a meeting point for a family to meet.

Spend time with your child in the toy aisle so they are familiar with it. Don’t let your child wander off on their own, but let them know that it is an emergency meeting point. This way they know exactly where to go instead of being frightened and alone, and you know where to head if you cannot find them at all. If all else fails, head to the nearest security guard or information kiosk to ask for help.

Don’t forget, you were a child once upon a time and more than likely weren’t the poster child for discipline. Your kid may want to pull the same stunts as you, it’s natural.

About The Author

I was born in the Eastern Cape, close to the waves. After getting my degree in Media, Communication and Culture, I knew it was time to make my way to a big city. Not wanting to leave the ocean, Cape Town was the natural choice for me. At first I thought the fast paced world of marketing. But I never forgot that what I'd always wanted to do was write. Now I'm a freelance writer, where my office is my bedroom and my platform is the World Wide Web. I live with my partner and our two beloved Great Danes. When not reading or writing you can probably find me on the beach or exploring nature trails.

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