For parents, one of the biggest fears of grocery shopping is the possibility of a meltdown happening with your toddler. That terrifying feeling of embarrassment when everyone is looking at your toddler throwing themselves on the floor, shouting, and crying. While it’s all in the luck of the draw, here are a few things to do if you find yourself trying to pick your dramatic toddler off of the grocery store floor.
Don’t Ignore them
Toddlers will only get louder if they notice you’re not paying attention to them. After all, part of the theatrics is to get your attention in the first place. Instead, try to engage with them before their mood escalates. If you allow them to help you shop for the items you need, they’ll be more engaged and more distracted by the task at hand. If you’ve got them sitting in a cart, hand them the box of cereal you need to place in the cart so that they can throw it in there themselves. Nine times out of ten, they’ll be intrigued by the box and it will keep them busy for a while.
Schedule a Store Run Around Their Schedule
Anytime a toddler is hungry or sleepy they will let it be known by fussing, no matter their surroundings. Planning errands, especially a store run, should be done first thing in the morning after breakfast and before their nap, as a way to avoid a fussy baby. Because life doesn’t always allow us to stick to the schedule, especially with more than one child, a shopping cart car seat holder can help with a sleepy baby while your toddler rides in the front of the cart. If hunger becomes an issue, bring a snack with you that they can eat on their own in the car like crackers, grapes, tangerine slices, etc. to buy you some extra time.
If snacking in the car is a no-go, let your toddler pick a snack in the store that they can nibble on while you get your shopping done. Once they pick a snack, pay for it, and go back to shopping (keep your receipt in case you have any issues with the grocery store staff). Not only will these calm down a hungry tummy, but it will also keep them entertained while you cross items off of your grocery list.
Take Advantage of Technology
In this era of smartphones, make sure you’ve got some goodies downloaded for your little one. Amazon has an app where you can watch shows with your account. Shows like Baby Shark, Daniel Tiger, and Elmo are all educational and every toddler’s favorite. If a trip to the store is looking like it’s going to take a while, let them pick a show they can watch while you shop. If you’re going to do this, make sure you have a good case on your phone that allows your little one to grasp it well and not break if it slips out of their hands.
Take a Break
If you find that your toddler is fussing to the point it’s becoming a disturbance, take a break and address the issue. If you’re letting them walk, take a minute to get eye-level with them and console them. If they are in the cart, pause the strolling and try talking to them while holding them. A need for attention is at the root of every tantrum, so give it to them. Ignoring them or allowing them to sense your anger or impatience will only aggravate them more.
There’s nothing wrong with giving your needy toddler the attention they’re seeking at the store. As they get older and understand more, you can talk to them about their behavior and what is and isn’t tolerated. Keep a cool head and always prepare so you know how to react if it happens because it will happen.