DO list each place or item and read it with your kiddo before you go.
DON’T add or alter the list unless absolutely necessary.
*If you do have to alter the list, make sure you leave some space between the listed items, use the same pen (I love blue markers and carry a few everywhere I go), and try to adjust the list “out of sight”.
2. MAKE A TRADE – Is there a particular item/spot that grabs your kiddo’s attention – like the TVs playing movies at Costco? Have an alternative item available to trade that allows you to keep moving forward. This could be an ipad with a cartoon playing (This may not be enough of a novelty if they always have an ipad with them.), a small toy or something they like to play with in their hands.
*Try to make sure it is a fairly novel item that they prefer and only get to use on an outing. (My one little guy loves to hold my Hello Kitty phone on our walks to the park. He knows he gets to hold it when he is walking safely. Another student loves to play with my measuring tape.) What, you don’t carry a measuring tape with you? Hmmm.
DO have a highly preferred item they can hold in their hand.
DON’T trade with items you are using as a (tangible/edible) reward.
3. MAKE A WISH LIST – Hey, those stores are smart! They know exactly where to place the gum balls and candy! Try using a WISH LIST for those impulsive wants. First, explain the WISH LIST to your kiddo.
- Print out the WISH LIST and put on a clipboard with a pen.
- Fill out where you are going and who will be the “stay close to” adult.
- Go over the expectations at home and just before leaving the car.
- When an item attracts their attention and they ask for it, tell them “Let’s put that on your WISH LIST for next time.” (You may need to spend a bit of extra time having them write out the item on the list, but this can be a great calming technique.)
DO make sure that the WISH LIST “comes true”.
We put the WISH LIST on the fridge and I try to occasionally bring an item to my students. (If they write down a big bag of something, I bring a snack size of the same thing.)
DON’T ask them if they want to write everything down that catches their eye or use the item as an immediate reward.
NEVER add the item the child is demanding for to your main list right then, immediately purchase it, or make it the reward.
(You can always go back at another time and make the WISH LIST come true!)
4. MAKE A REWARD – What is it your kiddo is working for? This can be an immediate, tangible/edible item they get at the end of the trip, either in the car or as soon as they successfully leave the store. You can also use an additional or bonus reward that they get once you are back home – 15 minutes of cartoons. Never underestimate the power of Smarties being waved right there in front of them while passing rows of gumball/toy machines! Ah, distraction at it’s finest!
DO write down the reward and have it with you during the outing for immediate use.
DON’T change the reward or use something from the current WISH LIST.
You could make a past WISH LIST come true!
(Remember to hold on to the prior WISH LIST so they can see it coming true.)
So let’s get out there and conquer the world! (Well, maybe just the lunch meat isle today.) With a small amount of preparation, you can easily support successful community outings. Remember, the best support is visual, not verbal, for most of our amazing kiddos.
Happy Spring Outings!!