I watched a temper tantrum in the store unfold before my eyes today. Involved were a bored little boy, and a mom who was trying to find shoes.
Who threw the tantrum? The mom!
She got very angry at her little boy who would run around the corner of the aisle, then come back.
After a couple times, she grabbed him by his shirt collar when he ran back to her, and YELLED through gritted teeth, in an angry voice, “BEHAVE!! Stop running, and quit being BAD!”
I have seen this more than once at stores, and I always feel bad for the child who is the victim of the out-of-control parent.
Yes, sometimes the behavior of the kids would frustrate me too, but it’s up to the parent to be the one in control.
There ARE ways to minimize the chance of a temper tantrum in the store, while making shopping with a child or children less stressful.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS:
1. Tell the child ahead of time what the rules are.
Don’t expect them to just know what you expect from them. They need to be taught what behavior is acceptable, and what isn’t.
- No running in the store (or the mall).
- You need to stay with me and hold my hand.
- You need to sit in the cart, or the stroller.
- I want you to hold unto the cart, and walk beside it as we shop.
Keep in mind that if you haven’t trained your children in first time obedience. there’s a good chance they aren’t going to obey you in the store.
2. Let them know what pleases you.
- Thank you for riding in the stroller and waiting patiently while I look at clothes.
- It makes me so happy when you hold my hand and stay right with me as we are walking through the mall.
- Thank you for standing and waiting patiently while I try on shoes.
(Letting your children know what pleases you at home is also important, and a great way to win their hearts!)
3. Be prepared.
- Bring snacks they can enjoy while you are looking. (Box of raisins, bag of pretzels, etc)
- Bring a drink for them – sippy cup, juice boxes, water bottle
- Bring something to keep them occupied
For kids in the stroller/cart, I would bring a few books, or their favorite little toy.
For kids that are walking with you, bring little hand held toys, like a small etch-a-sketch, or their favorite little GI Joe or doll.
4. Choose the right timing.
Don’t go to the store with a child who is going to need a nap halfway through the shopping trip.
Don’t go when they’re going to be hungry, unless you plan to take a break and get food.
Many of the cranky kids I see at stores are just plain tired, and need to go home and sleep!
4. Promise something fun when you are done with your shopping.
At the mall, I would take the kids to the pet store if they behaved well while I was shopping.
At the grocery store, it was a penny horse ride.
Other times it was a trip to McDonalds playland when we were done.
This gives them incentive to be good, but also gives them something to look forward to.
5. Praise good behavior frequently.
Kids love to please us, and knowing they are making you happy will encourage them to continue to be good.
If you have two or more, frequently commend the older ones for helping with the younger ones, or for setting a good example to them.
They will feel important, and needed.
6. Have realistic expectations.
Don’t expect a trip to the mall or grocery store with your child or kids to be the same as when you go by yourself.
Know when you shop with a child (or children), there are going to be interruptions. It is going to take you longer than if you went alone.
You will have to know where all the bathrooms are, and will visit them at least once, if not several times! 🙂
Being prepared mentally for this, will help you not be frustrated when it happens.
(Being unrealistic in our expectations is one of the reasons we are frustrated as moms.)
Shopping with a child (or children) doesn’t have to be stressful, and unpleasant. Do some teaching, training, and preparing and you can turn those shopping trips into nice little outings, and avoid a temper tantrum in the store.