In stores, my child wants to touch everything. What can I do?

Everyone likes to touch interesting and attractive objects. Adults in stores are drawn to gadgets they can manipulate and products they can pick up and feel. Children also want to handle what they see in stores, but many store owners and parents are too impatient or fearful to let children touch.

Touching is one of the main ways a child learns about things around her, especially in new surroundings. She explores with her hands and often can only “see” something by feeling it. One three-year-old told her mother, who was holding an interesting object right in front of her daughter’s eyes, “I can’t see that far.” The child was really saying that she wanted to touch.

When children shop with their parents, struggles often develop as parents pick up, handle, and buy items, and children want to do the same. And because most stores try to display their products in the most attractive and appealing ways possible, the temptations for a child to touch are great. Parents usually keep their children from handling merchandise because they’re worried about items getting broken. While it’s true that young children don’t understand the consequences of breaking things, it’s also true that most children, if properly supervised, won’t hurt items in a store. Parents can hold fragile objects for close-up viewing or gentle touching, and can allow their children, within limits, to pick up interesting merchandise.

Sometimes a child will feel satisfied in a store if she is just given enough time to examine an object. Parents are often in too much of a hurry while shopping to wait while she looks at boxes of paint brushes or piles of scarves. But many struggles can be avoided if parents slow down a bit and allow an extra few minutes for her interests.

Some stores make shopping easier by providing toys and play areas for children. If possible, try to patronize such stores and let the owners know that you value their service. Always support their efforts by watching your child while she’s in the play area and by straightening up some of the toys before you leave the store. If children are left unsupervised and store employees have to take complete responsibility for clean up, owners may discontinue the service.

Although play areas are very helpful, most of the stores you shop in will not have them and will show little tolerance for children. Since that’s the case, carry small toys from home when you shop with your child, or have her bring a backpack with her choice of a few small items. Such playthings may distract her from some, but not all, of the attractive merchandise around her. When parents, store owners, and employees recognize and become more patient with children’s needs to see, touch, and explore, shopping will become easier for everyone.

Picture Credit : Google