How to Handle Meltdowns in Public: The Grocery Store

Updated on July 24, 2018
martiya profile image

I love helping people practice a little proactive parenting. Have you caught your kid doing something good today?

Handling the Grocery Store Meltdown

Every parent dreads the frustration and embarrassment of a grocery store meltdown; your child completely losing control and throwing themselves on the floor, kicking, screaming, and making a scene.

This article explores some of the ways that you can avoid this scenario, as well as what to do if it happens to you.

Plan Ahead

The best possible solution to the grocery store meltdown is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Planning your trip ahead of time will mean less time in the store and less opportunity for your child to have a meltdown.

  • Know your store and create your shopping list in sequential order. Choose which side of the store you want to start with and write out your shopping list according to where everything is as you move from one aisle to the next until you reach the other side of the store.
  • Decide which brand of each product you’re going to purchase before going to the store. Most stores have an online list of their products so you can plan ahead which products you want and even see what’s on sale. Detail your shopping list accordingly. Remember, the less time you spend in the store, the less likely your child will be to have a meltdown!
  • Plan your shopping trip around your child’s schedule. For example, 30 minutes before your child’s usual nap-time or meal time is probably not the best time to go. A tired or hungry child + the grocery store = a meltdown.

    Likewise, going shopping after a play date or other fun activity that is not part of your normal routine creates an over-stimulated child that is also more likely to have a meltdown.

Be true to your word. If you told your child it would be a short trip, make sure you don’t delay by adding items to your cart that weren’t on your list.

Prepare Your Child

Have a conversation with your child in the car and let your child know what to expect and what you expect. For example, when my son was young, I would inform him that he shouldn’t ask me for anything in the store on certain trips.

Other times I would tell him he could ask for one small thing. I would also tell him if this was going to be a short trip in which I was buying just a few items or if we would be in the store for longer, filling a cart.

In the Store

  • Be true to your word. If you told your child it would be a short trip, make sure you don’t delay by adding items to your cart that weren’t on your list.
  • Pay attention to them while you're shopping. Engaging them in conversation or a fun game like "I Spy" will prevent your child from getting bored.
  • If your child has been particularly well behaved, consider allowing them to pick out a small reward at the checkout. This will make it more likely that they will behave just as well during future visits to the store.

    The key to this is to make it random and unexpected. Acknowledge your child's good behavior every time, but only offer a reward sometimes. This way they do not come to expect the reward and will be more likely to behave well every time.

Happy Shopping!

What about you? What are some of the successful strategies you've used to get your shopping down without your child having a meltdown. Let me know in the comments below!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • profile image

        Bridget 

        19 months ago

        I utilize a number of these tactics while taking my energetic toddler on errands and they work like a charm. On the weekend, at breakfast, we “plan our day” where i tell what we are doing that day. This way, she has a plan for what is happening and what’s expected of her and also what she can expect from me.

      • Mary Richards profile image

        Mary Richards 

        19 months ago

        Wow, this is great advice! I don’t have children of my own, but I have been grocery shopping with my niece and nephews many times, and I always dread the ‘will you buy me this’ over and over. I love the idea of telling them beforehand that they can pick out one thing. Thanks!

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, wehavekids.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)