Grocery shopping with a toddler or preschooler can be an adventure for any parent. The perfect child who never gives you any trouble goes through a metamorphosis as they enter the grocery store. The words “Gimme” and “I want it” is on repeat through the entire adventure. And the word adventure is can sometimes be an understatement.
Many parents forget that sitting backwards in a grocery cart, with nothing to do, can be boring for a young child. A bored child wants to do something to be entertained. So they do the only thing they can do from their captive state. And all of the only option is to get something exciting from the shelves they’re passing.
But an easy way to thwart the temper tantrum is to involve your child as soon as they reach an age you believe they can help you. If you want to keep your child in the cart, move close enough to the shelf and ask your child to put three boxes of mac and cheese into the cart. Your child will be involved and thrilled to help. You can use it as an educational experience, too. There’s counting, addition (“You put one box in the cart and then another. How many boxes are in the cart?”), and when your child is old enough to identify prices, good shopping habits. And in the cereal aisle, allow your child to pick out what they want. If you’re a family who doesn’t eat sugary cereals, this can be another learning experience for the older child. You can help them understand why your family eats the more nutritional cereals by showing a side-by-side comparison; something you can’t do at home.
Don’t forget the reward system, if you want to put yourself into that situation. Promising candy at check-out can get your child to be good in the store. However, when you tell them no because they weren’t well-behaved can cause a temper tantrum beyond belief. But this is one of those things which varies from parent-to-parent and child-to-child.