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Let’s Go Shopping

Posted by Susan K. Stewart on 21st January and posted in Child Training, Family

grocery_cartsA parent’s nightmare. And we’ve all lived it: a screaming child at the store.

You know the suffering. All eyes in the store are staring at you. Your child is not just uncajolable, but also must be suffering some type of pain. The sound travels out the doors. Is there anything you can do?

At the moment it probably seems like there isn’t.  While you try to shush and quiet your child, your only thought is to get the rest of your items on your list and out of the store as quickly as possible.

While you are not in the embarrassing situation, let’s consider what you can do to prevent the nightmare and some ideas for when it happens.

Often the reason for an unruly child at the store is being hungry or tired, or both. I know it seems easier to stop at the store after soccer practice or on the way home from a play date, but it’s not. Try to plan trips to the store when you and your child aren’t cranky and rushed. You may want to consider planning a time to go to the store when someone else can care for your little one.

Have something in your bag to entertain your preschooler if your list is longer than six items. Actually you can select how many items is the limit of your child’s ability to sit in the cart. One idea is pictures of grocery items on cards, which you can put on ring. Have your child find the picture of an item on your list, then help you find it on the grocery shelf.

Don’t stand and chat with your neighbor. A quick hello, then make arrangements to catch up at another time is sufficient.  Your little one isn’t interested in the latest news and quickly becomes bored.

What can you do when the tantrum starts?

Find out what the problem is. If you child is hunger, get a nutritious snack. Sing a silly song as you go through the store. This will not only entertain your little one, but will also bring a smile to other people’s faces. A final suggestion, get done, and get out of the store.

When your child doesn’t seem to be able to calm down – leave the store. Yes, that’s right. Walk away from the cart and go outside. You will be less tense and able to deal with the situation. Your cart will be probably be right where you left when you return.

Some tantrums can be avoided with a little preparation.

Often you see a child behaving poorly because he doesn’t understand the word “no.” If you are having trouble with every toy and goodies that lights up in the aisle, you need to spend some time at home teaching that “no” means “no.”

Teach your preschooler to sit. At home, practice by sitting in a chair for increasing lengths of time. Think about it. How comfortable can it be to sit in a metal cart for an hour while being pushed around a store? Even your patience would be stretched.

Begin early to teach wise use of money. Although your child may not understand that a nickel is five cents, you can begin to help learn that resources are limited. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t have enough money to pay for that. We need to buy food.”

A four-or five-year-old can begin to earn a little money by working around the house. There are some thing that members of the family need to do to contribute to the well-being of the household, like pick up dirty clothes. There are other tasks that a little one can do, like set the table, for a wage. This is also a good time to teach work ethics.

Let your child pick a healthy food item or a needed clothing item. If you need vegetables for dinner, give the choice to your child – carrots or peas. Let your child be part of the shopping experience.

It is possible to have a pleasant shopping experience with your preschooler. It just takes a little training, a little time, and God-given patience.

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