Prevent Grocery Store Tantrums

Tips for Successful Grocery Shopping with Children

It’s the rare child that never has a grocery store tantrum. Use these tips to prevent a meltdown in the grocery store.

Grocery stores can be an overwhelming environment for young children. If grocery store tantrums happen frequently, a parent may wish to shop alone, but this is not always possible. There are steps that a parent can take to lessen the likelihood of a tantrum and make for a smoother shopping trip for all.

Avoid Grocery Shopping with a Tired Child

Tantrums are more likely to happen with a child who is overtired. Shop early in the day when your children are more likely to be well-rested. Avoid typical nap times and late evening shopping trips with children.

Avoid Grocery Shopping with a Hungry Child

Hunger is another tantrum trigger. Young children that are hungry have a difficult time staying in a good temper. Most children need a healthy snack either right before or during a grocery shopping trip. Bringing a snack and a drink for a young child can make the difference between a successful, peaceful shopping trip and a frazzled one.

If you forget to bring a snack and your child is beginning to show signs of an upcoming tantrum, open a box of crackers in the grocery store. An item that doesn’t have to be weighed to be paid for can be consumed and still paid for at the end of the shopping trip. It’s a desperate measure, but it could result in a successful outing that would not have been possible otherwise.

Prevent Grocery Store Tantrums by Giving Your Child Tasks

Include your child in the shopping by having him look for specific groceries. This can be done from the shopping cart with a younger child as a game of I Spy. An older child can actively search for groceries on the shopping list to add to the cart.

A young child confined to the cart is likely to tantrum when he gets bored. Keep him entertained by giving him interesting items to hold.

A danger zone for tantrums is the wait in the check-out line. Unfortunately, items of particular interest to children, like candy and small toys, are placed at eye level. To prevent tantrums while waiting to pay for groceries, keep children engaged in putting the groceries on the counter. A busy child is less likely to notice the nearby temptations.

Keep Rules Consistent While Shopping with Children

Having the same rules for each grocery shopping trip will help prevent tantrums. Decide whether or not to allow your children to pick out a treat in the check-out line. If the answer is no, then be consistent and don’t allow it one week, but decide it’s okay the next. This type of flip-flopping is confusing for children and will be likely to result in a tantrum.

Likewise, if a young child needs to stay in the cart because he pulls things off the grocery store shelves, be consistent and require that he stay in the cart each time you shop until he has outgrown the behavior.