How do I go shopping with my 20 month old?

Brittany - posted on 05/15/2012 ( 32 moms have responded )

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My 20 month old son recently started refusing to go in the shopping carts, or sit in his stroller (he unbuckles himself) & stands up! He can walk but everytime I take him out I tell him he has to hold my hand or he is going back in the cart...anyways he will NOT hold my hand and he keeps throwing himself onto the ground everytime I take his hand...than if I try & put him back in the cart he will not let me. He stiffens his body, screaming & crying, hitting, scratching, pinching etc. I've tried almost everything...any toys he just throws out of the cart after 5 mins and gets mad if I try and give it back to him, eating a snack keeps him content for a little while but also not very long. If I let him stand in the front part of the cart he has recently started swinging one leg over like he is going to jump out! I don't have much option BUT to take him with me! It's a very stressful and embarassing experience because everyone stares as if I am hurting him. Last week we were standing in the checkout for 20 mins because he would not let me put him bnack in the cart so I can bag my groceries...I had to put him on the floor and he kept running away! I don't know what to do anymore and I'm at my wits end! My bf works long hours and is never home to watch him so I can go run errands. Any suggestions would be great, thanks!

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Kayla - posted on 06/18/2012

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I mean cmon youre shopping with a 20 month old, ppl in the store Im sure dont expect him to be sitting with his hands in his lap not making a sound. If someone gives you a dirty look give it right back! ppl are way too judgmental and need to mind their own business.

Lindsey - posted on 05/16/2012

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I know this may sound time consuming but try this. Bring the cart by your car and put him in. When he starts to throw a fit take him out and put him back in his seat close the door and let him cry. When he has calmed down try it again and when he starts having a cow take him back out. He may not like going back into the car and will be ok in the cart or stroller. If not just keep buckling him back up and hopefully he will get the point. I hear kid leashes work but that should be a last resort. Just remember dont reward him while hes having a fit. Wait until he is calm and maybe he will know that only when he is good does he get a toy or treat. Good luck hope this helps

Nikki - posted on 05/28/2012

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When my two boys started this stage I told them if they didn't behave they wouldn't go back for a long time. I kept my word! I bet they went 6 or more months before returning to the store(they liked going shopping!) I would shop on my way home from work, their dad worked first shift and I second so it worked out other than I was tired the next day for staying up later than normal. I expect my children to behave and while I agree with one who said not to inconvienance them self to appease the child sometimes when work, school, and children are in the picture you have to do what you have to do!! When they did eventually return to the store they were much better behaved because they knew the consequences if they did not behave. Im a firm believer in consequences so whatever the consequence is you have to stick by your word or it means nothing! Once children realize there will be one they start to think about their behavior.

September - posted on 05/16/2012

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Sounds just like my son when he was that age. Do you have the carts that have the cars attached to them? Those carts were the only thing that kept our son occupied until he was older. He is 3 now so he gets a little mini cart and helps us shop or he gets a snack and sits in our cart. Sometimes he likes to walk too but as soon as he tries running off, he’s right back in the cart. Good luck!

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Sandra - posted on 06/25/2012

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Ok, this may sound harsh but just stating the facts, He seems too spoilt and he is at his terrible 2's, my son will be 2 in September and he does the same thing it is SOOO embarrassing..
What I do is I be sure to take in his cup filled with juice, I have a snack zip bag with mixtures of cereal, and if he acts up like not wanting to get in cart at times and starts screaming I (lightly) paddle his but and tell him No, Sit down... When he sits down and start acting right I say YEAH!! Good boy, give me a five!! I read somewhere that parents are taking their kids into stores and it doesn't bother them if your trying to get him to calm down, listen.. But if you arent doing anything it makes them a little upset, but then again like me I could care less what they think cuz I'm a single mother of a 4 yr old and 22 month old, stop letting him get his way he doing it cuz he knows he can get away from it with you. O and I know this may be mean (teasingly) but sometimes i'll go to the toy section and get him a toy he can play with like a laptop or something with lights and when we check out act like your going to scan and put it up, but usually after your doing your food shopping a while they tend to get bored of it and dont want it anymore... and I like the idea of one the ladies said put him back in the cart if he stiffens up, and when he stops put him in cart, I'm going to try that sometimes.. Its the terrible 2's and I know exactly how you feel, my son tries to test me every min!!

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I had the same problem but my daughter but she could walk.. she would throw a tantrum if i tried to put her in the cart or stroller. i would either bring her a snack, sit her down right away in the cart or give her a lolipop ...in the cart and let her help me put the items in the back of the cart while she had her lolipop. she never cried or made a scene after i was prepared with either a snack or one of her favorite toys.

Tiffany - posted on 06/25/2012

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Well my friend has a daughter who does the same thing, anywhere. So they got one of those backpack leash things in the name of safety. (she would actually run from the sidewalk into the road before they can stop her, or run away in the store) Something to consider if the other ideas don't pan out.

Samantha - posted on 06/23/2012

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i have an 8 month old son and a 22 month old daughter, my son weigh a good 23lbs so carrying him in the infant carrier is way too hard to do so when we go shoppin (i have no choice but to take them with me since daddy works all day long) i put him in the seat and buckle him in, therefore my daughter cant sit there and even when its just me and her she tells me "i want to walk", what i do is i make her push the cart with me, theres times she throws a fit because she doesnt want to but thts the only option she has, try tht maybe he will feel "grown", and as far as the fits just let him, ignore it in a way tht he see its not getting to u and eventually he will stop or lessen how many he throws, lilly used to throw them all the time for candy, or goldfish, or bob-bob (spongebob), i just let her....sometimes i bribe her in a way, i go to the $5 movie bin at walmart and let her pick one and tell her she has to ride in the cart and behave or else she wont get it, and the second she starts to throw a fit i take it from her and put it back....i hope this helps some!!

Kayla - posted on 06/18/2012

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Let him scream! Say go ahead cry make a scene! See if I care! Once he sees youre not paying any attention and not getting a rise out of you he will get bored and stop. Say also youre not getting anymore treats till you stop. Dont give him an ultimatum either just keep him buckledup and say thats just tough!

Tannis - posted on 05/29/2012

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We got child harnesses for the girls at that age. They could wander but not wander off. It was a phase for our kids and they outgrew it. Now, at nearly four years old, they fight over who sits in the cart!

Sara - posted on 05/27/2012

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my daughter did this for a while during her terrible two's and she's hitting terrible three's now which are even worse and she throws the worst tantrums I've ever seen lol when she acts that way in a store i honestly let her act like a crazy child and walk away from her and tell her if she doesn't get in the cart I'm going to leave her there.. usually she comes running immediately.. I did rewards.. when she got in the cart like a good girl and behaved she would get a sticker from the machines on the way out and that worked like a charm! I didn't do it every single time that way she knew she wasn't going to get it every time that it was a special treat.. when she misbehaves and doesn't listen she goes home and goes in timeout and then we talk about why she went in timeout.. she understands everything that i say for the most part so explaining things works great for her. good luck though!

Ami - posted on 05/26/2012

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Unfortunately you have already done to me the number one no no. That is to let them out of the stroller cart ect. I know it is hard but you are going to just but him back in the stroller and tolerate the screaming and crying. He will stop! At this point he knows mommy will give in if I make a big enough stink about it. So stay strong! The key is to stay consistent with what you expect of him. Others will look at you but you are doing what is best for your child. And most likely the the people staring at you have gone through the same ordeal. My daughter is 4yrs old and is still in the stroller cart ect. I have tried letting her walk with me but she runs off. So in the stroller she goes! Good luck!

Serena - posted on 05/23/2012

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My 2 year old does the same thing! I've just stopped going out because I can't handle it! I think the game idea is great but for my child it last about 5 10 minutes and th obnoxiousness starts all over again. My son has a little grocery cart at home.. I think next time we go out I am going to try to bring that and let him "shop" with me.. good luck!

Lorena - posted on 05/22/2012

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This isn't helpful but I can relate. I took my daughter with me shopping from birth (our house burned down and I had to replace a house worth of items, furniture, appliances, everything) dragging her along with me. You'd think she'd have gotten the concept of shopping by now (26 months old) after that! But now that she can walk/run she is impossible to take into any store for more than 10 minutes. I don't think it's really reasonable to expect a child who's just learned to walk to want to stay put in a cart when there's a bunch of exciting things all around to look at and touch. She can escape from any buckle and if allowed to walk on her own takes off exploring or destroying shelves. I've given up taking her with me unless it's absolutely unavoidable. I sneak in trips whenever I can on lunch breaks or between work and daycare. To do big grocery trips I just get a friend to watch her. It saves my sanity and I shop twice as fast. :) Some of the suggestions given above...well, my daughter doesn't understand the concept of "if". As in "if" you're good now...we'll go the park later. Ha! Just saying your child is normal. :)

Miriam - posted on 05/22/2012

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Brittany, I have 16 month old twins and I shop with them all the time. they dont always love it, but they behave. I take my double stroller, pick a good time, after nap time and either snack or meal. I take them a cup of milk, they entertane themselves drinking that for a few minutes, but usually I buy them each a small toy and they hold that while we shop, they just have to get used to it, we have been doing it since they were tiny babies, I would just keep putting him back in the cart, if you let him run around once he will expect it all the time :()

Melissa - posted on 05/20/2012

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Plan your outtings that you need to go on. Maybe make it first thing in the morning and right after nap, plan a snack to take with you and a toy or a book too. Maybe bring a cooler with some ice packs in it if your going to the grocery store in your car. Then tell you will stop at the library or park after on the way home for a short visit if your 20 month old behaves. Maybe also let him choose some groceries, what would you like for dinner tonight, or sometime this week, which cereal would you like? Which yogurt would you like? It may not be the best choice, but it's giving him a choice, getting involvement out of your child. I let my 6 year old pick out his cereal, lunch snacks. my 21 month old gets to hold something i am buying her, and will get to pick out a snack or 2, she has her favourites too! I don't know how big his vocab is, so the dinner idea may not help. My daughter, will point to her snacks, and use the words she knows!

Destinee - posted on 05/20/2012

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I have my 21 month old help push the cart. He thinks he's helping and it usually keeps him out of trouble.

Rachael - posted on 05/19/2012

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first off letting a child stand in the large portion of the cart is dangerous, so i would not recommend that. With my son first thing we would do when we got to the store was go to the deli counter and let him pick out a cheese to snack on while in the store. I would also pick up some kind of unbreakable "tub" of something even if I didnt need it and told my son to use it as a drum. this kept him busy. I also never walk away from the cart and I pay close attention so if his fingers wander to the buckle I correct him before he gets the buckle undone. now that he is a little older (3) we count and name EVERYTHING that goes into the cart. "how many bananas is mommy buying? What color is the broccoli?" he loves it. there are still days where we have temper tantrums, but I take it in stride. I do not believe in inconveniencing myself because my 3 year old doesn't want to do something because that is essentially letting him win, so we keep on trucking.

Lauren - posted on 05/18/2012

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I have the same problem w/ my 4 yr old. I just tried this and it worked great. I don't know if yours is too young. I told my son I need him to be a big helper and get groceries for me. So... He rides in the big part of the cart and when we get to something I need I point it out and he has to reach it (while still in the cart) and put it in the cart. He loved helping. I also let him scan and bag the items at self checkout. He loved it, and I let him keep the change for helping me. Also, when he was younger (like yours) we bought a toy shopping cart and let him push it around the store and put our light items in it as long as he stayed close. Good luck to you!

Sara - posted on 05/17/2012

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I had the same problem with my 2 yr old so I told her if she was going to do that I would not take her I turn to online shopping so they deliveries to my house and she was not liking that so we went back to shopping under the condition of she sits or stands in the trolley with food and drink and now she does really well I also found if I take her plastic toy trolley and put something in it then she is happy to stay close too me while I have a stress and peace free shopping experience

Rachelle - posted on 05/17/2012

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I have a few suggestions for you. Make it a game before going out tell him you are going shopping and he's your little helper he needs to help you find_______. Remind him often before you,leave what you are going to do. Also have you considered a child harness either the backpack version or the kind that ties to his hand and yours. I use these for my 3 and 2 year old since they are runners and I need to care for the baby and keep them safe. He will feel like he has more freedom but you will still have him at arms length. Also explain to him if he doesn't listen or throws himself on the floor he is going in the cart. I know kids are strong but even if he stiffens his body you can get him into the cart. If he is behaving praise him for being good. If he is good then reward him with a sticker or dollar store toy. After a while you won't need to reward him and it will make your shopping experience better for both of you. When he's I the cart you could also give him coloring pencil and a book or a magnet type book that he needs to place the animals... It might not be the best art since he's small but it will distract him. And as a very very last resort leave the store go calm him down and try again either as soon as he is calm, later in the day or the next day. Not ideal for a busy mom but they get the message loud and clear.

Dot - posted on 05/17/2012

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Also I think you can buy covers for pram buckles so they can't unclip it. Try online.

Dot - posted on 05/17/2012

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Of course every child is different and what works for one may not work for another but in my experience the best thing to do is strap him in a don't let him out no matter the amount of carry on. Just ignore the looks from other people, if they don't like screaming kids then they shouldn't go out in public. Good luck.

Stifler's - posted on 05/17/2012

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Go either straight after breakfast when he's just woken up /fresh for the day or straight after a nap. Let him sit in the trolley until it gets too full then he has to move to the other bit and involve him in everything like "lets get some apples... some bananas" and let him play with stuff. Bring a snack for when he gets pissy. Be as quick as possible.

Kristi - posted on 05/16/2012

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I really hate feeling like I have to bribe my kids to behave. Trying to find some better solutions.

Kristi - posted on 05/16/2012

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Glue the buckle? Yea ok.

You've shown him that he can get away with this. Now you are going to have to undo all of that. I've been there. My son is 4.5 and is finally out of his defiance stage. It was really hard. Consistency is the key. If you tell him that if he's really good you will go to the park afterwards (or any treat for him) then when he starts misbehaving remind him about what he gets if he behaves. If he still acts up don't do whatever it was you said you would do. You need to find a way to stop him from unbuckling. That's very dangerous. He could unbuckle his stroller buckle and jump out. Maybe try a rubberband. Does he only do things like this in the store? Did something in a store ever scare him badly? I like the other suggestions for having him help you find things on the list. Keeping mine distracted helped. Do you have a handheld DVD player, kindle, tablet, etc? If he doesn't throw things maybe you could play a movie or an educational toddler game. Good Luck!!

Alissa - posted on 05/16/2012

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i would have someone else with me and rather hold him or get some glue and glue the buckle when your done get water and wash the glue.

Louise - posted on 05/16/2012

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I did the same as Brittany I found some pictures of the food I wanted and stuck them to the card. He had his shopping list and I had mine. We would nip around each aisle and see if anything was on his list. I would grab what I needed and would move on.

If it is a big shop could you not shop on line and get it delivered? All supermarkets do it in the UK I am sure they do it where you are. This takes the stress out of shopping completly. I still do use on line shopping when I know I am going to be strapped for time. Especially at Christmas when the shops are full!

Kimberly - posted on 05/16/2012

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I agree with making sure he is well fee and rested before going in, I always try to get things done first thing in the morning when my daughter is usually the best. We sit in the trolley or the cart and she knows getting out isnt an option. I also give her a notebook and pen/crayon to help me check off my 'list' she knows when we go in if she is good she can get a flavoured milk toward the end. I try not to do major shops with her as she doesnt last, I either get my husband to take her if he's home or do it in two smaller shops a couple days apart. I also make some games out of it ask her to point of broc or beans, count apples and carrots what colors some fruits are etc etc. It makes it interesting for them as well as teaching them things. My daughter is now 2.5 and enjoys shopping for the most part and will even tell me what we need to get!!!

Dove - posted on 05/15/2012

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Stick him in the cart as soon as you get to the store and don't let him unbuckle it. Get done what you have to and get out of there as soon as possible. You've let him know that getting out of the cart is an option, so it may take a while to undo that.

Yes, you can use snacks, toys, distractions, whatever to help

Brittney - posted on 05/15/2012

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I would make sure he is well fed and well rested before going anywhere. Make a game out of shopping. Like if your grocery shopping describe the foods you're buying and ask him to pick out something he likes. Can he help you push the cart? That usually gives my daughter the freedom she wants but allows me to be right there.

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