Meltdowns and Tantrums

Article By: Melanie Hartgill - Educational Psychologist

Grocery shopping with your children can be difficult and I don’t think I have ever been to the shops without seeing a number of children having complete meltdowns and tantrums in the shop - this is frustrating and embarrassing for the parents and irritating for fellow shoppers! Children tend to get bored quickly and are quickly drawn to the marketing strategies in the shops, insisting that they need certain items, sneaking things into the shopping trolley and running up and down the aisles.

So what can be done to make the trip to the shops as easy as possible?

  • Firstly, try to avoid taking the children if they are sick, tired or hungry as you are setting yourself up for a difficult time before you even begin, though I realise that sometimes this is unavoidable.
  • Ask your child to be your helper and get items for you. Children love to be helpful and giving them a job to do promotes their self-worth and confidence. You can also encourage reading and counting skills as they do this.
  • Play "I spy" if you have younger kids or "20 questions" if your kids are older, either as you walk up and down the aisles or while waiting in the queue.
  • Take a snack and something to drink as that prevents them from getting too hungry and cranky
  • Have something for them to play with while you shop if they are small enough to sit in the trolley; for a bigger child, they can push the trolley or look for the items you need.
  • Bigger children can use the time that they are walking around to do sums you ask them or recite times tables.
  • If your child is sitting in the trolley, see who can make the funniest face to make the other person laugh
  • Get silly and tell jokes
  • Get your child to help bag and weigh the fruit and veg or take it to be priced.
  • Plan meals with your child as you walk around, becoming wild and imaginative with strange ingredients and having a laugh!

Remember to be patient!

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