Successful Shopping With Kids

Hauling the children along on a garage sale excursion can either be a blessing or a chore.  It's a chance to spend some focused time with them, at least during the trips between sales, but once you arrive it can quickly turn into a nightmare -- especially if they have any rowdy tendencies.  How can you keep your children happy and calm?

A woman bringing her kid in her quest to have a successful shopping.Start by proactively setting a budget for them.  If you want, you can set aside some money for toy purchases or books, or you can allow them to bring along some of their own money from allowances or small jobs.  Either way, set a limit.  This will prevent heartache on both sides -- for you, when they come begging for more and you really can't afford it; and for them, when they get home and realize they don't really want the old action figures they just blew all their hard-earned money on.

Before you leave the house, check to make sure you've had a chance to pack snacks and drinks; if you're planning to stay out during lunchtime, bring some sandwiches and fruit too.  Hungry kids are the most persistent, and often the most cranky.  Boxes of raisins, granola bars, bags of washed grapes, and apple slices will keep little mouths occupied and happy along the trail.  Taking food and drinks with you stops you from spending money on unhealthy snacks.

As you shop, let your children be a part of the process.  Let older ones total up your purchases for you, and let little ones carry some smaller things.  Giving kids tasks makes them feel important and reminds them that they aren't just along for the ride -- they're a part of the family, too.  And yard sales can be a great place to teach various life skills your child won't receive from school, such as financial math, bartering, and self-control in regards to purchases.

Another way to keep your kids busy is to challenge them to find things.  If you know what you're looking for ahead of time -- maybe a frying pan, a set of dishtowels, or a certain DVD -- send them out into the sale to hunt it down.  Ask them to report back to you in a certain amount of time (a great opportunity to work on time skills!), with or without the item.  Or, if you've brought Fido along, have your kids watch the pet.

At all times, keep your children nearby.  If there is more than one garage sale going on in a cul-de-sac or on a street, don't allow them to run ahead and check out the next one.  It's unfortunate but true that children are easily led away by a tempting toy in the hands of a no-good stranger, so having your kids stick by your side is a wise move.

How have you handled your children during garage sale season?  Shout out here in the comments, or stop by GarageSaleCow.com and share your tips with the world's fastest-growing online garage sale community.




Comments (12) -

Mitch Ingram
Mitch Ingram
2/19/2013 1:58:05 PM #

Treating shopping as a form of bonding for the family is new thing to me. I was used to leaving my kids behind when going to crowded places since there's a great chance that they could get lost. Now you could do what you love with your loved ones around. You need to be careful with your little ones since they are at a greater risk to get lost. Having an arm bracelet to always check your child is an option. HAve fun with the auction at the same time take good care of your kids and ensure their safety.

Earle Robbins
Earle Robbins
2/19/2013 2:02:04 PM #

I don't really bring my kids with me when I go to garage sales or just shopping in the mall. Im preoccupied with keeping them safe and happy all the time. They would ask for a lot of things in the mall and I can't handle my four kids by myself. You can't really try clothes and choose from them because your attention is torn between shopping and your kids. SO just have someone to baby sit and enjoy shopping by yourself Laughing

Boris Townsend
Boris Townsend
2/19/2013 2:09:35 PM #

To add, teaching your children how to act when they're lost is important. Brief them with how they should approach things and the set of actions they should take. First, teach them that when they notice that they're lost, JUST STAY IN YOUR POSITION. If I would lose my kid in the middle of an auction or shopping mall, I would just trace my tracks and start finding from there. If my kid would wander to find me, it becomes harder and is now like a game of hide and seek for the both of us. Next is, tell them to shout/yell or make a scene for the people to notice that he/she is gone and they could help her. They should lastly know your name, address so that if they will be brought to the costumer service area or assistance area, they could page you easily. Safe shopping everyone...

Denice Yates
Denice Yates
2/19/2013 2:15:08 PM #

Bringing your children along with you would be beneficial to your children greatly. They would  feel that they're wanted and that they have a role to play. When we were kids, were happy if we are recognized by our parents and we know that we can be with and help them in whatever way we can. It would develop their sense of confidence and develop a stronger bond in the family while enjoying all throughout. How fun is that?

Carrie Pierce
Carrie Pierce
2/23/2013 1:54:48 AM #

If you're planning to tag your kid along a garage sale shopping, you need to make preparations to make it work. Choose a method on how you can monitor your child AT ALL TIMES. Never take your eyes off your kid because anything can happen in a crowded place. He/she could be lost, ran over by people and wander aimlessly while crying. A new trend today is the use of those ropes which are tied to your wrist and your kid's wrist. That way, you can monitor your kid and let him have his freedom in playing or searching for items too. It just so happen that they're just a couple of feet away from you.

Randall Hart
Randall Hart
2/23/2013 2:09:40 AM #

I brought my niece, Annika, once in a garage sale. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out well because she wanted to buy refreshments, play with other kids on the sale and just roam around. I just couldn't let her out of my sight so I was following her the entire time. I still wanted to search for good finds but we had to home because she was now crying and was making a scene already. I learned my lesson the hard way, never bring kids to garage sales.

Earle Robbins
Earle Robbins
2/23/2013 2:19:10 AM #

Randall, I feel you man. It was an awful tasting medicine for me but I guess I needed it. Today, I enjoy shopping without having to take care of kids while doing so. #foreveralone

Warren Gentry
Warren Gentry
2/23/2013 2:21:56 AM #

Oopsss!!! Detective Alert, Are you cops or something BORIS?

You sound like an ex-FBI, CIA or cop. You know a lot about finding kids or are you a detective? :p

Boris Townsend
Boris Townsend
2/23/2013 2:30:49 AM #

Unfortunately Warren, Im not a cop. Just an informed, responsible citizen who has kids to take care of. I got that information for a  morning show while I was having breakfast. It featured how to react when you realize your kid is gone. Maybe you should start watching informative tv shows and stop watching your douche bag, jerk shows :p

Jorge Hansen
Jorge Hansen
2/23/2013 2:38:37 AM #

When I bring kids to garage sale, I involve them in the shopping spree. I don't treat them as a burden because I was also in their shoes a couple of years ago Smile I always want to buy any toy I can see not just in sales but also in school events, malls, etc. My mom would give me all those things unlike other children who will are deprived to have such toys. I want my kids to feel the same way I was treated well by my mom.

Amber Bowen
Amber Bowen
2/23/2013 2:54:30 AM #

I usually bring water and biscuits for my kids because they tend to get hungry easily when were out shopping. When they start looking for food, I just get the biscuits inside my bag and the water so they won't have to buy those junk foods and unhealthy meals in malls or garage sales. I can trust my biscuits and homemade sandwiches because I personally handle and prepare them.

Gianna Kane Lewis
Gianna Kane Lewis
3/7/2013 10:21:36 PM #

My cousin usually brings a big backpack (she's like going on camp), whenever she and the kids go malling . Guess what's on her bag? It's full of biscuits, water, towels, tissues and of course extra shirts. She brings all the necessities with her and that's good especially she has 2 kids. In a minute, one will complain she's thirsty and the other one complain she's hungry. Whether you like it or not, you don't have a choice because these are kids you are dealing with and another thing, these are your kids

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