October 10, 2012 | in Nanny
A simple trip to the grocery store can quickly become anything but easy when you have a child in tow. Many of the items at the grocery store are marketed and packaged in ways that are designed solely to appeal to young children, and are often among the more unhealthy options in the store. For parents trying to teach their children good dietary habits, these items can open a door that’s best left closed. When parents refuse to allow kids to purchase sugary snacks in brightly-colored boxes featuring their favorite cartoon characters, temper tantrums can quickly ensue. Parental denial of non-essential purchases isn’t the only cause of temper tantrums, either. There are a wide array of reasons why children have temper tantrums in grocery stores, and these 10 tips can help you avoid the most common.
- Discuss Good Behavior Before Leaving the House – Letting your child know what’s expected of him and the type of behavior that you will not tolerate can provide him with the reminder he needs in order to be on his best behavior. These conversations are important ways to ensure that kids are aware of the consequences their choices can have, especially when it comes to misbehaving in public. Letting kids know that certain purchases are off limits before entering the store can also prevent pleas that eventually degenerate into tantrums.
- Get Kids Involved With the Shopping Process – Simple boredom can make even children that are normally docile a bit mutinous, leaving them searching for any way to alleviate the dullness of following a shopping cart. Getting your kids involved in the shopping process can prevent that boredom, and greatly reduce the chances of a tantrum.
- Take Advantage of Kid-Friendly Shopping Carts – Most grocery stores offer some type of kid-friendly shopping cart, whether it’s a miniature cart scaled to just their size or a large plastic car attached to the front of a standard cart. Finding one of these carts can help you keep your child engaged and entertained, hopefully preventing any meltdowns.
- Make Sure Your Child is Well-Rested – An exhausted child is almost invariably a cranky child, so try to schedule a nap before heading out to the market with your little one in tow. When they’re well-rested and chipper, there’s one less possible cause of a tantrum.
- Have a Meal or Snack Before You Leave Home – Hunger can be the root of many tantrums, especially when a hungry child is surrounded by food he’s not allowed to eat. Take the time to provide a snack before your shopping expedition so that your child isn’t feeling irritable as a result of hunger when you get to the store.
- Manage Your Time Efficiently – The longer your child is in the grocery store, the more likely he is to find something to become upset about. Save the leisurely shopping trips for those rare moments when you’re at the store alone, and make an effort to get through the store as quickly and efficiently as possible when you have pint-sized company.
- Bring Along a Diversion – While limiting kids’ screen time is becoming more of an issue for many parents, allowing your child to enjoy a bit of handheld gaming on your mobile device might keep him occupied enough to stave off teary interludes.
- Avoid Candy and Toy Aisles – The aisles that house candy and toys are filled with items that catch a child’s attention and capture his desire. Avoiding these aisles, especially if you have no intention of purchasing anything in them, is best when you’re shopping with a child.
- Shop When Stores are Less Crowded – A hectic grocery store is stressful for everyone, including your child. To prevent a meltdown borne of stress and frustration in a crowded store, it’s best to avoid shopping at peak times.
- Visit the Deli Counter or Bakery for a Treat – If your child behaves well at the grocery store and your parenting philosophy embraces the concept of rewarding children when they make the right choices, a quick trip to the bakery or deli counter for a treat is a great way to provide a reward and encourage the same good behavior next time you’re shopping together.
Helping your child to understand why you won’t allow the purchase of certain things can make it easier for him to accept, especially if the items in question are unhealthy foods. Rather than simply refusing to purchase the foods that are marketed towards your child, it’s best to provide a short, solid and clear explanation of your reasoning behind the decision such as “Those treats are sticky and will harm your teeth.”
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