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​How to Prevent a Grocery Store Meltdown

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It doesn’t matter how cute your kid is, there is nothing cuter than a well behaved child.


Photo Credit: Tammy Porter

The grocery store meltdown is not a ‘bad kid’ issue, most of the time it’s a bad timing issue. When your child has a cosmic meltdown at the store 9 times out of 10 it’s because it’s their nap time, their third stop or they have no idea if they will ever see their home again! Mom was running errands and everything was going great and she thought she could fit in one more thing.


If you are a new mom and want to save yourself the embarrassment of a screaming kid it takes an ounce of planning. Every trick isn't going to work all the time, it's best to have a few up your sleeve.

  • “May the odds be ever in your favor”: Increase your chances of having a great outing by going when the kids are napped, fed and clean. I know this sounds obvious, but judging by some of the tantrums I’ve witnessed this isn’t always the norm.

  • Communication is key: Of course your 3 month old isn’t going to suddenly start yapping like the hilarious E-Trade baby, but the sooner you start talking to them, the sooner they will respond like one. Save the baby talk for play time. Tell your toddler you are going to the store. Ask them if they are going to pick the fruit or the cereal. Do they want to pick the yogurt or the string cheese? Get them excited about going. Let them in on the plan. Heaven forbid, make them part of the plan instead of ‘along for the ride’!

  • Don’t overbook! Don’t run more errands than they can handle for their age. If they only want in and out of that car seat twice. Don’t book a third errand that day. Spread it out. If you are within 30 minutes of their nap time don’t fit one more thing in. They are not a baby time bomb, they are growing and changing every minute.

  • Come prepared! If you don’t want your kids whining for food and snacks down every aisle bring your own with you. Other ways to keep them busy is write your list in pen and then let them ‘check’ stuff off with a pencil so you can still see what’s on your paper. If you have a few coupons, give them your discarded ones so they feel like they have a purpose too. They just want to do what you’re doing anyway, even if they don’t understand it.

  • Make every trip a teaching moment. Don’t give your child snacks to shut them up. Give them their treat and say, “Wow you are being so good! Would you like this? Only good boys and girls get treats in the store.” After a year or two, I remember my son hearing a crying child and said, “Whoa…he’s not getting fruit chews!” A two year old CAN understand that you don’t get fruit chews when you pitch a fit if you spend your time talking to them like they are human.

  • Let them pick food. Don’t make the grocery cart a baby prison. They will hate shopping with you and try to get out the entire time. Drive your cart next to the item you want and let them grab it off the shelf and put it in the cart. They will always have more fun if they have a job. The rest of the time when you drive down the middle of the aisle they can’t reach the food anyway.

  • Don’t expect perfection! The stars will not align every single outing. The sooner you accept this the less stressed you will be.

  • Praise them every chance you get! While you’re buckling them up in the car seat talk to them, again like they are human (what a concept!), tell them how good they were for you. How happy it made you and how when they act this way you WANT to take them places and do fun stuff.

Happy Shopping Super Moms!​

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