Strategies for peaceful shopping trips

Nikki - posted on 10/15/2011 ( 15 moms have responded )

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Could I trouble you all to share some of the strategies you use when shopping with toddlers? My child seems to have spilt personalities when it comes to shopping, some days she is an angel other days I want to dig a hole in the supermarket floor and hide from all the judgemental stares I get.

I am not normally the type that worries about others staring at me, but her tantrums in the supermarket have become so loud and long even I find them offensive but I cannot seem to find a solution. I always make sure she is well rested and fed before we leave, but it doesn't seem to make a difference.

Ideas please!

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[deleted account]

But you know what I just realised, I don't do it when we are shopping, I am not sure why??



Probably because shopping takes up all your concentration?



Maybe it's just a personal problem, but I HATE shopping. Wandering around aimlessly in a big windowless place, staring at rows and rows of almost identical items trying to make a decision. I find it really overstimulating and taxing on the mind and senses. I can only imagine how it makes a child feel!



My 13mo son can be perfectly calm and cheerful for HOURS if we're walking in the woods or the park and on the street, but he almost always has a meltdown in big supermarkets or department stores.



I don't know if this is helpful, because it depends on where you live and your lifestyle, but I just try to limit the time I spend in these places.



-- We get some of our groceries from an upscale supermarket that delivers. It doesn't seem that much more expensive. It saves us time, fuss, and taxi/bus fare (we don't have a car).



-- I get my husband to pick up things on his way home, or I send him out.



-- I take my son to smaller, separate neighborhood shops (bakery, deli, vegetable stand, etc.) where the shop ladies all know him and make a fuss over him. Each takes a shorter time before we're out in the fresh air again.



-- If I just want to browse and look around, I leave him at home with his father.



We do end up taking him to the mall or big hypermarkets from time to time, and just cope the best we can. He's young yet, but he likes to "carry" some of our purchases.

Sally - posted on 10/24/2011

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First when my daughter was that little I would tell what we were looking for. Say bananas, it was her job to find them. We would go down every aisle and would have her look for bananas. She was so busy looking she rarely fussed. Second, we have told her since she was tiny, "you can touch almost anything in the world with one finger." I have had her since she could walk, walking through stores with one finger stretched out in front of her to touch things. We allow her to look at everything. If it is something safe to pick up, we would let her look at it, hold it and then tell her to say goodbye to the item and put it back. I have taken her to the Macy's glass & crystal department at age two. She walked through with her one little finger held out and never picked up one item. Took her to a Hand Blown Glass shop when we were on vacation when she was 3 & she did the same thing. I tell her now before we go in a store, "this is a one finger store." And she is great. I love that I am not telling her no, don't touch all the time, she loves the ability to be in control of herself & she has learned respect for others. I have only had one tantrum in a store, on a day she was over tired. Otherwise in 5 years she has been amazing. We can take her in toy stores, let her look and when it is time to go, she used to say bye-bye toys see you next time. Now she just says ok & we leave. One finger touches work great, saying goodbye works, giving her something to look for/hold. The key is making sure she feels part of it & feels some control. And never, ever give in to the tantrum. Once you do, she will do it again and again. Cause it worked.

[deleted account]

I think I'm kind of lucky, as my daughter loves the supermarket. But it's always a very fine line between fun and potential tantrum if things don't go her way. I generally try to involve her as much as I can. 'Which trolly will we take?' 'Do you want to push it or walk?' 'Can you get me some broccoli and put it in the trolly?' At some stage we'll pass the bananas or the bread and she'll generally fancy one or the other, so that keeps her entertained for another while. I guess we kind of make it a special day out. As long as I take my time, don't rush her and don't try to force her in anyway, it generally runs pretty smooth. If I break those rules - oh dear... Actually, I think sometimes people might think I'm a bit mad, because I solely focus on my daughter and constantly chat to her - a leftover from infancy when shopping was still a real nightmare.

Elfrieda - posted on 10/16/2011

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I haven't had to do this yet, but my sister-in-law told me what worked for her. She went out on an outing *on purpose* to teach a lesson. I think her girls hadn't gotten a nap, and she thought, well this is as good a time as any, and off they went to the grocery store, with the promise of a park visit afterward. They pitched a fit in the store and she left the cart and took them home with no park trip. (yes, annoying to the store employees) She said they were very deeply affected by that and now believe her when she says, "Behave or we're going home".



I hate grocery shopping, too! So bewildering. So far rushing around the aisles while going "Brrrrm" has worked with my one-year-old. He thinks it's fun! Or I grab one of the annoying battery-operated toys and let him play with it in the cart. So far I haven't had any trouble when it comes time to put it back. He just waves "bye-bye" and I tell him that we'll see it next time, and then we go straight to the checkout line and pay.

[deleted account]

When my son has a full out temper tantrum at the store I want to find the nearest exit door!! But instead I get down to his level take him by the shoulders and say "You need to stop. This behavior is not acceptable and I will not tolerate you acting this way" I will also make him sit on the lowest shelf for a time out ( I find an empty aisle). Then I ask him why he received a time out and then I ask him why he was so upset. Most of the time he tells me that he doesn't want to be in the store. I continue the conversation to find out where he would rather be. If he says he wanted to go to the park, I tell him that he should have told me but I still need to finish shopping and he behaves we will go to the park. It usually does the trick :)



Hopes this helps!

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Tammy - posted on 10/23/2011

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Have you checked Toys R Us? I know they have them in other countries, since I've been to a few. If there isn't one near you, try their website. I ordered our mini shopping cart through Amazon, because I wanted the metal one, rather than the various plastic ones available at Toys R Us, since it comes apart for easy storage in the trunk of my tiny car.

Nikki - posted on 10/23/2011

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Aww we don't have child sized carts here :(

We went shopping yesterday and it was much better, it could be a fluke but we will see. I have avoided going shopping in the past week because I am shocking I forget things and end up going about 3 times a week. So now I am making a list and sticking to once a week. I went all prepared with a snack and a drink, after rest time. I involved her in the process, she helped take things of the shelves and choose different colours of things, we took our time and talked to the ladies in the deli and I tried to have lots of fun with her..... Not one tantrum!! Yay, hooray! So I know it can be done :) Thank you so much for all your suggestions.

Tammy - posted on 10/23/2011

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Buy them, their own child sized shopping cart, so they can walk next to you and shop too! That's what I did and my daughter has so much fun. If she gets tired, I just put her cart in mine and she gets to ride. :)

Denikka - posted on 10/18/2011

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I agree with those who say to involve them. It works best with my 2.5 year old.
I talk to him the entire time we're shopping (and I actually LOVE food shopping, so I like to take my time) and goof around with him, from silly talking to shaking the cart back and forth. It keeps him entertained.
I also try to get him involved in decision making and whatnot. Like if there are 2 types of crackers I can't decide on, I'll get him to pick. That sort of thing. I also let him hold stuff in the front of the buggy and he seems to feel really grown up and helpful doing that.

Word of advice. I learned this the hard way XD Don't do tummy tickles when the kid is in the front cart seat. They double over to giggle. And face plant into the handle. That was a bad day at the super market. . . .sigh. . .*bad momma! Never do THAT again* XD

Stifler's - posted on 10/17/2011

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Straight after nap time or first thing in the morning. Take snacks and a drink. Let them play with something out of the trolley. Talk to them the whole time.

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 10/17/2011

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My son is 1 years old so I have absolutely no idea but my mom's advice would be to take your kid outside, stand by the front door while they are crying and tell them that everyone knows they have been bad. It embarasses them into stopping obviously. She smoked, so she just says she stood there until I realized everyone was staring at me crying and quit crying???? What do you guys think of this.



I've been surprised at how very different my parents and my boyfriends parents raised us and how they somehow think we want to raise our kids exactly how they raised us........ something I've been thinking a lot about lately.

Nikki - posted on 10/15/2011

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Thank you so much for the great ideas, I involve Isobel in everything in life generally, she is an only child and I am a SAHM so I spend my entire day asking her to help and discussing what we are doing. But you know what I just realised, I don't do it when we are shopping, I am not sure why?? but I will from now on, ill let you know how it goes. Unfortunately I can't put her in time out, she is one very strong willed 2 year old who I cannot even physically restrain, she wouldn't sit there she would run away and pull everything off the shelves while screaming at the top of her lungs!

[deleted account]

Daniela I do the same thing with my son too. Engage him in the process and talk with him along the way. I also talk to him like he is an adult, the conversation is a bit watered down so he can understan, and for some reason people look at me more when I do that. It's like they can't believe I treat my child with respect!

[deleted account]

Oh, and judgemental stares SUCK!!! I learned that the hard way when I brought her into a toyshop on a day where she hadn't napped (why on earth?!). Until then I'd stupidly thought that surely no one would blink an eye...

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