Prevent mom/kids’ food fights before they start at storeCarting a whining child through the grocery store has essentially become a parental rite of passage. After all, a toddler in the grocery store is like a kid in a literal and figurative candy shop.
By: Laura A.Jana and Jennifer Shu, McClatchy-Tribune , INFORUM
Carting a whining child through the grocery store has essentially become a parental rite of passage. After all, a toddler in the grocery store is like a kid in a literal and figurative candy shop.
You have several choices to consider carefully when it comes to how to handle your child’s potential grocery-store whining, begging, pleading, and/or tantrums. Better yet, we hope to give you a handle on how to avoid this common food fight.
• Keep on carting. This is the make-no-concessions approach to shopping-cart meltdowns. While not always easy to institute, it is usually very effective. All it really takes is the calm certainty that you are not the only parent who has walked the aisles with a wailing child. Sure, this is far easier said than done, but there will probably be more than a few parents who are eyeing you and your tantrum-throwing toddler – not in judgment, but out of respect for your resolve. What this resolve ultimately buys you is a shorter-lived problem. If you don’t give in, your child will learn a whole lot quicker that it’s not worth whining
• Steer clear of temptation. Have you ever noticed that the overall layout of most grocery stores is the same? The major food groups, or “whole” foods such as fruits and vegetables, grains, meats, and dairy tend to be displayed on the outer edges (or perimeter) of the store, while the processed foods are typically found in the aisles. Colorful produce and food that smells good – think bakery and deli – are often located near the front of the store to entice you to come in. This layout has definite benefits for the stores since these foods usually have the highest profit margins, but it also makes your shopping goals a bit easier:
• Negotiate. We don’t want to mislead you – as committed as you may be to squelching your child’s urge to whine, there may come a time when you find yourself compromising. And compromise is not always bad – especially in the instance when you stop to consider your child’s request and decide that it really isn’t so unreasonable after all. If you are going to indulge your child’s wishes, be sure to clearly spell out in advance what it is he will be allowed to get, and then stick to this plan throughout the trip.
• Avoid running on empty. As adults, many of us have been cautioned not to go to the grocery store hungry lest our stomachs weigh in heavily on our decision-making. In other words, take hunger out of the shopping equation and you’ll be far better equipped to resist temptation. At least to a certain extent, some (but not all) of your child’s in-store demands may be hunger-dependent, so it is worth trying to make sure he’s well fed before going to the grocery store. Plain and simple: Hungry children tend to be crabby children, and crabby children are not only more inclined to beg indiscriminately for any and all of the junk so enticingly laid out before them, but they tend to whine a whole lot louder.
• Say your goodbyes. A lot of parents have told us that when their child starts begging and whining for things he can’t have at the grocery store, they simply pick him up, turn around, and leave. From a behavior management standpoint, this sends a clear message and helps children learn consequences.
• Go it alone. You may soon find that, as a parent, a solo trip to the grocery store is only one stop short of a day at the spa, especially if your child happens to be going through his whining stage. Rest assured that it is not a cop-out to find a convenient time and/or somewhere safe to leave your child.