Handling Toddler Temper Tantrums At The Supermarket
Many parents dread taking their toddler to the grocery store because of the inevitable temper tantrums that will ensue. But with a little bit of preparation and understanding, you can help your toddler stay calm in the supermarket and avoid any public displays of anger.
In this post, we’ll talk about toddler tantrums at the supermarket, or at the stores. You’ll find the question from a parent who is struggling with her toddler’s temper tantrums.
Then, you’ll find our answer to the question, and we’ll give you tips on how to manage them so that you can keep your toddler (and your sanity) in check.
How To Deal With Tantrums In Toddlers
“I don’t know if this is a phase, but my child (age 4) has been melting down almost every time we run errands.
When we go to the store, if we don’t buy a candy bar or toy my daughter wants, she falls to pieces. Of course, this makes me super embarrassed and my usual go-to parenting tool is to negotiate with her until her tantrum passes to calm the situation in the store.
The problem is this behavior is getting more and more frequent. At first, my method was working pretty well, but the rewards just seem expected now. I’m not sure how to break this vicious cycle.
Tips For Managing Toddler Tantrums
We’ve all had those moments and they feel so uncomfortable. Sometimes we just want to get through a task without any scenes (or the stares that go with them), but kids are unpredictable. We never know when our child will go into meltdown mode, but you can predict that it will become repeat behavior if you give in to the power struggle.
The best way to handle this is pre-emptively. The work you do at home establishing and reinforcing boundaries will go a long way toward not having to deal with this behavior in public. Your child has been shown that your ‘no’ can be turned to ‘yes’ with a little bit of pushback from her.
Practice sticking to your rules at home to train your child that you will stand by your rules, and tantrum behavior won’t be rewarded. Her understanding that rules will be enforced will begin to work at home and at the store.
After boundaries are consistently adhered to at home, do a practice run at the store, just for training purposes. Tell her you are going to do some quick errands and you won’t tolerate her previous behavior – screaming, demanding items, or yelling. If she chooses to behave that way, you will leave. Do some slow drive-bys of her favorite toys and candy to see if she reacts. If so, say nothing. Simply remove her from the cart and leave the store. Once you’re back in the car, calmly reinforce that you won’t tolerate her behavior.
One practice run should do the trick, but if not, you shouldn’t need more than two if you are consistent at home.
It’s also important to understand why toddlers have tantrums in the first place. For one, they’re still learning how to cope with their emotions and haven’t yet developed the self-control to stay calm in challenging situations. And two, tantrums are often a toddler’s way of communicating that they need help or are feeling overwhelmed.
So what can you do to avoid grocery store tantrums? Here are a few tips:
- Make sure your toddler is well-rested and not hungry before you go shopping. A cranky toddler is more likely to have a tantrum than one who is well-rested and fed.
- Have a game plan. If your toddler knows what to expect, they’re less likely to get overwhelmed and throw a tantrum. For example, tell them how many items you’ll be getting at the store and give them a specific task, like picking out the apples or staying close by while you shop.
- Bring snacks and drinks. A hungry toddler is a recipe for disaster. Bring along some snacks and drinks to keep them happy and avoid a tantrum.
- Avoid triggers. If your toddler doesn’t like loud noises, try to avoid the store during peak hours.
- Be prepared to leave. If your toddler is having a full-blown tantrum, it’s probably best to leave the store and try again another day. There’s no shame in admitting defeat and trying again another time.
With these tips in mind, you can hopefully avoid grocery store tantrums and have a more pleasant shopping experience.
Final Thoughts On Handling Toddler Temper Tantrums
Toddler tantrums can be extremely embarrassing and stressful for both the toddler and the parent. However, there are ways to help control these outbursts. In this blog post, we have outlined a few helpful tips that should help you deal with toddler tantrums in public situations. If you follow these guidelines, hopefully, your next trip to the supermarket or store will be much smoother!
Explore more parenting tips in my book Secrets to Parenting.
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