Supermarkets are a haven for all kids to participate in an outburst of some sort. This usually happens in the candy aisle, the unnecessary shiny toy aisle or at the check out counter. Though we have witnessed these tantrums with other parents and their kids, one is hardly ever prepared when it’s their child causing the commotion. Interestingly enough, kids, from the terrible age of two, seem to have an inborn understanding of the distress this situation brings to the parents, but more so, the benefit they most likely will gain from the outburst. So how do you as a parent handle your troublesome tot the next time you are in public?
Before leaving the house, ensure that your child is well fed. Kids will most often be troublesome when they are hungry and especially if they cannot communicate the hunger in words. If your child will not eat before you leave, carry sufficient snacks that you know your child enjoys to have. Another way to prevent a tantrum due to an empty stomach is to offer a treat after a well eaten meal. You can have the child know that you will let them pick out a treat they like at the store if they have some food. This will make the experience enjoyable and productive for both of you.
Bring a toy, blanket or belonging that your child draws comfort from. This will help keep the kid busy while you go about your shopping or errands. However, should this not work, try and entertain the child through conversation by pointing out things that he/she might like or asking questions that the child will find fun to respond to. Try and draw some fun out of the experience.
It’s also practical to have a talk with your child before leaving the house. Letting the child know that no extra purchases, other than what’s on the list, will be bought is helpful. Make sure you explain this in a manner that is clear and understandable. Have him/her repeat what you said to ensure that it’s clear and acceptable. Some kids may try to negotiate the terms. It’s up to you to either, stand your ground in a calm perceptive way, or find a solution that works for both of you. As much as you want your child to listen and do what you ask, make sure you listen and understand as well.
In cases where none of the above works and the tantrums continue in public, then some sort of consequence has to take place. A toy could be taken away for a period of time; trips to certain public places that trigger the outbursts could be denied; a few privileges could be deprived etc. However, in so doing, don’t make the child feel worse off but explain in a loving tone why this has to be done. After some time, go out in public again and see if the behavior has changed or subsided. If so, be sure to compliment your child on his good public behavior.