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Handling Meltdowns at the Grocery Store

by T Akery | October 20th, 2011 | Infants/Toddlers

Meltdowns are a part of a toddler’s communication skills. Usually, they happen when the toddlers are hungry, cranky, or in need of a nap. Even if you try to take them to the grocery store when they are happy, they can have a major meltdown. It is one of the more embarrassing moments that you have to face with your kids. Such a situation also brings on additional stress because you know people are watching and they are judging you on your toddler’s behavior.

The best way to avoid a meltdown completely is to keep an eye out for the inevitable signs that your toddler is nearing their breaking point. Watch out for crankiness, restlessness, or signs that your toddler is unhappy at the store. If you see any warning signs, defuse the possible situation by leaving as quickly as possible before the tears and screams start. Getting them out of the environment is the quickest way to reduce stress levels.

If an object on a shelf has triggered a fit, move away from the object as quickly as possible. Don’t give in and buy it simply because it will make them quiet. It can be hard because there is that line between quieting embarrassing behavior by your toddler or reinforcing a behavior that is not appropriate. Constantly giving in means that they will continue to throw a fit every time they see something they want. If they continue on after the object has disappeared, keep moving toward the door and take them outside on a quick walk. This will give them time to calm down. Repeat this process until they understand that throwing a fit won’t get them what they want.

Don’t be afraid to pick them up even if they are fighting you. Oftentimes, this is the quickest way to get out of the situation. This does not mean that you should use excessive force to get your point across.

In some situations, you may have to endure the stress and embarrassment of a few looks. In cases where the screaming and crying have reached nuclear level, wait a few minutes until they have regained at least a little self-control. At this point, it is more important to ensure that they don’t accidentally hurt themselves. Even though you probably won’t ever want to visit the store again, it is better to wait out the fit rather than try to tackle the problem head on.

Meltdowns happen even at the grocery store. Even well-prepared moms sometimes have to deal with this problem. It doesn’t make you a bad parent just because your toddler is having a meltdown. The best thing you can do is get them out of the situation as quickly as possible. But when that is impossible, ensure that they are safe.

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