taking a 2 yr old out places and they won't stay beside you or listen? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 08-10-2011, 08:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, I am a third time mom and I realize this - it doesn't matter, it doesn't help me!!! lol! My youngest is 2 years old and I remember going through similar things with my older two children around this age but nothing really works with her right now. I say she is 2 but she will be 2 in September. It's just easier than saying 22 months or whatever.

 

We go to the store and she will sit in the cart for 5 minutes and then it's "ownt out, ownt out" and if I don't let her she will proceed to un-snap belt around her waist (yes, she can do this) and then stand up or want in the back part of the cart where she will want to stand up. So I have to hold her in my arms and push the cart at this point, which lasts a few minutes before she is squirming and wanting to walk. Then if she walks there is no way I can control her because she will run away and start to look at me and smile and try to escape me. lol!! ugh! She goes to a part day preschool type class each week and I try to do things while she is there but I have two older children that occasionally like to go places in the evenings and weekends with me.

 

Forget going to restaurants because she would not sit still there either. And using a stroller doesn't help, same thing pretty much. I did use the race car cart at the store the other day but she had also just woke up from a nap on the way in the car so that may have helped as well, but she did really well in the race car. And one other time I gave her my cell phone to play with which worked through the check out lane.

 

It's so bad that one day we were in line and a lady walked up behind me with "1 item" to purchase and asked if she could go ahead of us and I told her my little one really needed to get out soon because she was fussy and I felt just horrible because I never do that. Any other time I would offer to let someone go before me like that. :-(   But I was soooo embarrassed that day because little one had fussed through the store wanting to stand up in the cart and then walk and by the time I got to check out stand had I not given her my cell phone to piddle around with she would have been begging to walk and would have run away and across the store probably, embarrassing me.

 

I do know that in a few months to a year she will understand me better and this will all be behind me once she can listen to me and I can punish her and she knows what I'm doing and doesn't scream bloody murder because mommy is disciplining her in public, lol. But until then - any advice, ideas, opinions?


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#2 of 15 Old 08-10-2011, 09:32 PM
 
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I think the only thing you can do is keep them busy. Crayons and paper, magna-doodle, constant conversation, and keep shopping trips quick. Sometimes my LO does better in the stroller than she does in shopping carts. I don't let her down when we are shopping because I don't want to start something. I pick her up sometimes, though. Try explaining to her before you go and talk to her like she will understand. My 22 monther is shocking me with how much she understands. Now the impulse control... well, we're still waiting for that. But yeah, I just keep her busy. A cup of water is a good distraction, books, etc. But there is no way I could do a full shopping trip alone with her. When we bring her for a full shopping trip, dh, dd and I all go and take turns entertaining her vs. concentrating on what to buy. This too shall pass, right? LOL!

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#3 of 15 Old 08-11-2011, 09:19 AM
 
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The thing that worked for us in the grocery store was I made it clear that he could walk but ONLY if he stayed with me. As soon as he started running/wandering I picked him up & put him in the cart. He'd whine & cry & fuss & after a little bit I'd give him another chance. I will say it made grocery shopping just awful for awhile but after a few trips like that he figured out that I most definitely meant it & he stayed with me (he reallllllllly didn't like the cart).

 

As for the other things I'm not sure I have much to offer.


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#4 of 15 Old 08-11-2011, 12:50 PM
 
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We're going through the same thing, OP!  Except that carrying my 2 yo in the store isn't an option for me, because I always have the baby in a sling. 

 

Here are the things that have worked for us:

  • I come up with a fun game she can only play in the cart.  Practicing buckling and unbuckling herself worked for a while, for example.  Maybe attach your car keys to the cart and have her try to get them off.  That sort of project. 
  • My DD would just throw toys/books on the floor if I gave them to her on shopping trips, but it might work with your DD. 
  • I find that I tend to do a lot of short, frequent grocery trips rather than doing "big" trips with both kids. 
  • If we need to do a 'big' shopping trip, I make sure DH or another adult comes with me to keep the kids occupied, or I drop DD at my MIL's while I shop with the baby.  (I recognize that not everyone has this option; we're lucky in that respect.) 
  • Bribery!  I show DD something exciting (a bag of crackers, perhaps, or a stick of string cheese, or a piece of candy in the checkout line) and tell her that if she behaves herself, I will give her whatever-it-is before we leave.  This doesn't always work, and I'm not convinced that it's good parenting, but it has saved us from total meltdown a few times.  (Often it's a toy or treat from home that's in my purse; I don't want to set a precedent of "buying" her good behavior with purchases.)
  • I never go to the store with a hungry or a tired child. I learned that lesson the hard way!   
  • When all else fails, we've occasionally resorted to midnight trips to the 24-hour grocery after the kids are in bed.
  • Don't be afraid to leave your cart full of groceries and walk out of the store altogether.  I only had to do this once (and, thank heaven, we were only buying 2 things, so I wasn't creating that much extra work for the poor person with the shelf-restocking job), but it was the best thing I could have done for DD's behavior.  She realized that if she didn't behave in the store, we weren't going to follow through on the shopping trip -- we were going to go home.  Now, depending on your child, this could backfire, but for me, it worked well. 

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#5 of 15 Old 08-11-2011, 12:59 PM
 
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we've been through a period with dd (she's not quite 2 yet) where we just didn't take her to the store.  either dh or i would go alone or her grandfather will briefly watch her. 

does your kid enjoy babywearing?  sometimes i'll get some mileage out of the ergo in the store.  we don't do it so often anymore that she really enjoys it when we do. 

if you do let her get down in the grocery store, what happens?  could you enlist her "help" with the shopping?  is your kid the kind who would hand you things from the shelves and think it's a grand adventure?  sometimes we do this..  we'll walk together and i'll say can you pick out the GREEN can? and it keeps her busy and cooperative.

but i don't think that's easy for every kid and she has to be in the right mood. 

restaurants are hard.  that's a phase that will quickly pass though.  until then, there's always take out.  :(


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#6 of 15 Old 08-11-2011, 01:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy68 View Post

 

 I was soooo embarrassed that day because little one had fussed through the store wanting to stand up in the cart and then walk and by the time I got to check out stand had I not given her my cell phone to piddle around with she would have been begging to walk and would have run away and across the store probably, embarrassing me.

 

I do know that in a few months to a year she will understand me better and this will all be behind me once she can listen to me and I can punish her and she knows what I'm doing and doesn't scream bloody murder because mommy is disciplining her in public, lol. But until then - any advice, ideas, opinions?


OP, a couple more thoughts -- two words in your OP raised red flags for me. 

 

1) You seem a bit focused on how embarassed you are/were by your toddler's behavior.  I worked in a store for many, many years and often saw parents who would hiss at a misbehaving toddler, "You are embarassing me!!!"  IME, the parents' anxiety often exacerbated the situation with their child(ren), who would then take advantage of their parents' discomfort to act even more outrageously. 

 

My toddler often misbehaves in public, and I frequently have to remove her from a situation or try to [gently] correct her, but I have never felt that my toddler's behavior is embarassing to me.  It's her behavior, not mine, and while I have a responsibility to try to improve it, I refuse to feel embarassed when my 2 yo acts like a 2 yo.  If people think I'm a bad parent, well, let 'em.  People will judge your parenting no matter what you or your child do.  I know perfectly well that I am a good mother, and my child's behavior in public is not a measure of my parenting or self-esteem.  NOT that I'm putting those words in your mouth -- or head.  I just want to say -- your child's behavior is NOT a reflection on you.  To take it that way is to risk your own confidence as a parent!  Plus, your child may be picking up on your anxiety and "upping the ante" on her behavior in order to get a reaction out of you.  I know that my child certainly would! 

 

2) "Punishment" sounds like an extreme phrase to use for correcting behavior that is simply normal toddler-pushing-the-limits kind of behavior.  That's not to say that there aren't ways of getting her to do what you want, but waiting until she can be "punished" is probably not going to give you the results you want either. 

 

Sending you hugs!  This too will pass!!!

 


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#7 of 15 Old 08-11-2011, 01:23 PM
 
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Well my 2.5 yr old is the same way.  He has become so independent too.  It is sooo hard for me to go any where with him and my 9 mth old.  But what I've been doing recently is simply letting him out of the cart.  I tell him to get things off shelves for me, put produce in bags, put items in the cart, etc.  Sure it takes like quadruple the amount of time it would take to get through the store, but he stays happy and it has been getting easier.  Do you think that would work with you - have her help?  Also, I have given up caring what other people think of my son whining, crying, or screaming in the store or any other place.  As far as the running away from you, what worked for me was ignoring.  My son would run away and I'd say okay bye see you later, then start to walk away.  As long as I keep walking away he starts saying no, mama and runs back to me.  He usually runs away to get my reaction anyways, so I just don't give him one.  So far that is working, but I'm sure it wont work forever.  Now restaurants we avoid, they do not work for us.  Maybe when he is older hopefully.


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#8 of 15 Old 08-11-2011, 02:33 PM
 
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Crackers, grapes and a noisemaker is what gets me through the grocery store with my 2 year old. Don't be afraid to properly discipline them. Mine had a little screaming fit in the store - I just let her have it out, when she was done, we carried on. I would never let her get as far as unbuckling the belt though, you must enforce that. Just clamp your hand around it and let her scream.

 

It's tough, all kids are different, but don't be afraid to lay down the law in the store. If they sense fear at being embarrased, the game is up and you will never finish the trip. You have to nip it in the bud. I've been through it with three of them, but I'm not concerned with what people think, and neither should you be. Easier said then done of course.....


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#9 of 15 Old 08-11-2011, 03:03 PM
 
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I have a runner, too.  On our last trip to Target I got the cart with half the buckle missing.  That did not work and led to the purchase of a cheese stick to lure him back into the cart.  It worked, but I don't want to make it a habit.

I have one of those monkey backpack things (safety harness) to help keep him close.  I'd rather feel a little silly for holding a monkey tail than feel silly for chasing a toddler through the store.

Could you put something like duct tape over the buckle?  Keeping your hand on it would probably interfere with the shopping.  I'm not sure if I'm kidding.  :)

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#10 of 15 Old 08-11-2011, 03:58 PM
 
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Red light green light saved my sanity.

 

It's really a great game to teach young toddlers.  Just tell her that green means go and red means stop.  If she goes on red or stops on green she goes back to the start.  I used to nanny and at one point had 3 walking 1 year olds to keep together.  Just make sure you go and stop often enough to make it interesting.  If you want her to walk beside you, it can be more like a race.  Like on green light you both go, then red light stop.  Ler her say red and green for a turn every now and then.  

 

Good luck. 


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#11 of 15 Old 08-12-2011, 03:00 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Comtessa View Post




OP, a couple more thoughts -- two words in your OP raised red flags for me. 

 

1) You seem a bit focused on how embarassed you are/were by your toddler's behavior.  I worked in a store for many, many years and often saw parents who would hiss at a misbehaving toddler, "You are embarassing me!!!"  IME, the parents' anxiety often exacerbated the situation with their child(ren), who would then take advantage of their parents' discomfort to act even more outrageously. 

 

My toddler often misbehaves in public, and I frequently have to remove her from a situation or try to [gently] correct her, but I have never felt that my toddler's behavior is embarassing to me.  It's her behavior, not mine, and while I have a responsibility to try to improve it, I refuse to feel embarassed when my 2 yo acts like a 2 yo.  If people think I'm a bad parent, well, let 'em.  People will judge your parenting no matter what you or your child do.  I know perfectly well that I am a good mother, and my child's behavior in public is not a measure of my parenting or self-esteem.  NOT that I'm putting those words in your mouth -- or head.  I just want to say -- your child's behavior is NOT a reflection on you.  To take it that way is to risk your own confidence as a parent!  Plus, your child may be picking up on your anxiety and "upping the ante" on her behavior in order to get a reaction out of you.  I know that my child certainly would! 

 

2) "Punishment" sounds like an extreme phrase to use for correcting behavior that is simply normal toddler-pushing-the-limits kind of behavior.  That's not to say that there aren't ways of getting her to do what you want, but waiting until she can be "punished" is probably not going to give you the results you want either. 

 

Sending you hugs!  This too will pass!!!

 



^^^This^^^

Someone here once gave me a really great tip for when your child misbehaves in public and you get all upset because of how embarrassing it can be:

just focus on yourself and your child and do NOT look at anyone else. It really helps you not to pay any attention to anyone else, both by not looking at them and by not thinking about them. Just block them out and pretend you are in your own little bubble, maybe even imagine a clear strong bubble encasing you, protecting you from their thoughts.

I find I am a worse parent when I try to make sure no one else is judging me (which as already mentioned, is impossible to avoid anyway). When my son gets all crazy in public, I find that I start to lose it and get all upset when I want him to behave and when I worry about disturbing others.


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#12 of 15 Old 08-12-2011, 06:21 AM
 
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Do you have a carrier? My 2.5yo DS goes in the Ergo for long or important shopping trips. He does ask to get down but I just tell him he has to stay in there & I can talk to him/sing/etc. to distract him... but even if he ends up crying, he can't climb out of it or anything so at least I know he's safe.

Most of the time, though, our shopping is much more casual so I let him walk, help me push the cart, help me get things off the shelf... it was tough getting to this point where he won't run off or knock everything off the shelves, and I can't get too distracted, have to remain patient & constantly keep him engaged (which is why we use the Ergo for more attention-zapping trips!) but he's actually gotten pretty good at it because we've had lots of practice. He also gets lots of opportunity to explore on his own with someone shadowing him (me or DH) -- sometimes we go to the store just for that purpose (especially on rainy days... his favorite is the pet store, gets to see animals and push a toddler-size cart) and I think he kind of gets it out of his system so he's better able to contain himself when we need to keep him nearby.

I agree with the others about waiting to punish her sounding a little harsh... and the embarrassment thing. Maybe it's because DS has always been so high-needs & so likely to fly off the handle, I don't know, but I am immune to feeling 'embarrassed' by him now... otherwise I'd be in perpetual state of embarrassment lol. I just focus on what I need to do. I have no idea if people are looking and staring and really, I don't care. He's a kid and he's going to cry and fuss and tantrum -- maybe a bit more than the average kid, but a stranger in the store has no clue about that -- and I just do my best to help him calm down etc. for HIS sake, not for anyone else's. I think it really helps to shift the focus off 'getting them to calm down so they won't embarrass you' and onto 'what does my kid need & how can I make this experience more tolerable for them?'

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#13 of 15 Old 08-13-2011, 10:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lifeguard View Post

The thing that worked for us in the grocery store was I made it clear that he could walk but ONLY if he stayed with me. As soon as he started running/wandering I picked him up & put him in the cart. He'd whine & cry & fuss & after a little bit I'd give him another chance. I will say it made grocery shopping just awful for awhile but after a few trips like that he figured out that I most definitely meant it & he stayed with me (he reallllllllly didn't like the cart).

 

As for the other things I'm not sure I have much to offer.

I agree with lifeguard. There are just some things I don't negotiate on. Running away in a store/parking lot is one of them. If you can't stay by me or hold my hand...you are going into the cart I dont care how loud you scream. I didn't have a hard time with my son, but he certainly did test during his early 2s but to no avail. You could also try including her more in the actual shopping. I made the effort to let my son touch and see all the different fruits in produce and help me put them into bags. Or giving her a can to put in the buggy. Sometimes it works, sometimes they could care less and just want to dart away ;) This too shall pass though. 
 

 

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#14 of 15 Old 08-13-2011, 11:54 PM
 
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i'm right there with ya. even the part about the "just one item" people. i *always* encounter those. and i almost without fail let the first one in. and then, almost invariably, comes another, and another. and i just busy myself with what i'm doing instead of letting more in because -- frankly -- i've gotta get the heck out of there at some point too, the sooner the better. 

 

i look around at the babies riding nicely in the carts, or the ones sitting in the high chairs in restaurants. and, unbelievably, i see a fair share of 2 year olds (or late 1s) *in strollers at the swimming pool*, content to just sit there and eat cheerios and drink bottles/sippies, parked on the pavement while their older sibs play in the water. 

 

NOT MINE!

 

of course i have an energetic 5 yo as well as an energetic 2 yo (also almost 2 -- also 2 in september). the 5 yo loves to act just like the 2 yo, and i have to spend my time reeling her in to set a better example. 

 

it is a tough tough age. especially when your kids are super active, and not a bit passive. (ie, passive kid would be the one who is willing to sit in the stroller at the swimming pool. never in a million times would mine do that. you should see him in the water, running out till he's chin deep, evading my attempts to hold his hand, etc., etc.)

 

all i got in terms of advice for the grocery store is to pick a small store, and give a special food treat while he sits in the cart. preferably a treat that takes awhile to eat. my kids like carrots. i usually get through the first half of the store with them in the cart, before they break loose.


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#15 of 15 Old 08-14-2011, 11:41 AM
 
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i know i already posted, but we had a great grocery trip today & after thinking about why, thought i'd add this:

one thing we do that makes things go well, no matter where we go is to explain what we're about to do and set up behavior expectations.  before we went today, i told dd where we were going, mentioned some things we'd buy that she likes (mangoes, etc) and said "while we are at the grocery store <child's name> will sit in the buggy.  no yelling, and no asking to get out."  and said that same thing on the way in.  it really seems to work.  now that i've thought about it, we do get less desirable behavior when i don't do that or don't talk about where we're going, etc.  hope that helps you too...


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