Dealing with DS at the grocery store - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 38 Old 11-04-2010, 09:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, I really just need advice on whether I need to do something drastic to change his behavior or just try and avoid taking him to the grocery store if possible. He will not stay in a cart, he'll scream and try and get out of it the whole time. Let me preface, he's 22 months old. He will stay in those "car" carts for like 5 minutes then wants to get out and walk. I wouldn't care if he walked if he wouldn't stop every five minutes to pull things off the shelf, or just walk off. I occasionally let him push his own little cart, but they only have those at a grocery store I go to infrequently. Even then, he will still stop and run off or go in the other direction. Have I spoiled him by letting him not be in the cart? Do I have any hope of getting him to stay in the cart after letting him be out of it for this long?(about 2 months now) The only grocery store I can get anything done at is Tom Thumb, (they have little TV's in the cart) and that's a rare outing since it's very far from my house and expensive! What would you all suggest? My mom said.."what would he do if you just made him stay in the cart?" I told her he'd scream and try and get out the whole time. Not an option. we have another one on the way due in May and I'm hoping by the time he's 2 1/2 or 3, he'll be better behaved at the grocery store

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#2 of 38 Old 11-04-2010, 10:05 PM
 
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Can you shop at night while your partner watches him?
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#3 of 38 Old 11-04-2010, 10:07 PM
 
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sorry mama! you've pretty much tried everything i was going to suggest.

i don't think you've spoiled him by letting him out of the cart (i know i wouldn't be happy sitting in a cart for the amount of time it takes to shop for groceries).

would it help if you gave him something to do while he's in the cart or the "car" cart? like read a book or doodle on a mini magna doodle or perhaps have a snack (just something to occupy his hands and his attention).

you mention he likes to push his own little cart, but that only some stores have them. what about letting him help you push the big cart? dd enjoys this. just stands right in front of me and helps push.

hope you're able to find something that works.

some stores have tvs in the carts? wow!

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#4 of 38 Old 11-04-2010, 10:11 PM
 
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This is what we had to do at that age. The whole way to the grocery store, let him know he was going to be in the cart at the grocery store. I would bring drinks and snacks for him. He would be carried from the store to the cart (or better yet) find a cart in the parking lot. This actually worked fairly well for us. If he got to walk at any point though, it was tough to get him in the cart.

If you do the above and he still screams, maybe try shopping anyway? Just calmly let him know that he had to stay in the cart until you were done shopping. Obviously you'd have to deal with other people in the store, but I know if I saw a mom staying calm while her kid freaked in the cart, I'd assume mom was doing her best.

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#5 of 38 Old 11-04-2010, 10:29 PM
 
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During those phases, I grocery shopped at night while DH watched the kids. It really was easier on me, even though I was tired as hell. I also found out that Safeway delivered for $10, and that was TOTALLY WORTH IT when I lived in a place where that service was offered.

Some kids will sit in the cart and some won't. I don't think you did anything to make this happen.
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#6 of 38 Old 11-04-2010, 10:37 PM
 
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I always just made my dd stay in the cart or in my arms. A snack to eat while shopping often helps a lot. I would also sing little songs, talk to dd, and swerve the cart to make it fun. I don't think it is too late to make staying in the cart the expectation and there are a lot of gentle ways you can do that. I suggest the cart that has the child facing you rather than the car cart because it is funner to be face to face for some kids. If that doesn't work a backpack carrier may be a great investment. He may enjoy seeing out and you walking around might put him to sleep. They go up to 45 pounds which many kids don't hit until 4 and they are really a nice thing to have.
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#7 of 38 Old 11-04-2010, 10:54 PM
 
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Yeah, being in the cart until you are able to walk safely with me and not dart away or tear the place up is a non-negotiable for me, so I never took them out to begin with so there was no battle. I still have to plunk my 4yo in the cart sometimes when she's particularly "energetic", and it's one time I have zero problem using a flat-out bribe: "I need you to ride in the cart because you're not being safe; I know you don't like to - I'll get you a pretzel to make it easier for both of us." I'm not usually a briber, but I seriously have NO patience for chasing a kid around a store, and at lesat I'm being honest about it, right? eep.

When they were under 3, my plan was always: bring a snack/drink, a couple soft books, and toys attached to the cart on strings/clips so they couldn't launch them, and just get it done as efficiently as I could. Give them their own list and pen sometimes, or a magnadoodle. Ask them to find things and point them out to you. Sing songs and dance crazy to the musak playing on the store speakers (I have no shame). They'd ask if they could get down, and I'd say no, 500 times if necessary. We'd try every once in a while at a smaller store where I only was getting 1 or 2 things to see if they were ready to walk with me yet, and if they weren't the next time we went grocery shopping I'd remind them they had to be in the cart because they hadn't shown me they were ready to walk safely with me yet, and we could try next time we were at the other (non-grocery) store.

I think initially it's going to be rough making him stay in the cart and he'll likely be mad and loud about it, but if you lay out the new expectation, the reason why, and give him plenty to do while he's sitting there he'll eventually get used to it. I agree with trying to find a cart in the parkig lot if posssible so his feet never hit the floor of the store. You jsut have to decide to keep him in and not wind up taking him out if he's too loud, unless you're taking him out of the store completely (which I've also done, abandoning my cart and letting an employee know on my way out the door, carrying a screeching child - good times!).

It's as much about safety to me as it is time spent shopping; I probably count on one hand the times I've seen a kid under 3 walking safely in a store next to a cart, without darting, weaving, grabbing stuff, or almost knocking into people. It's what toddlers do and is developmentally normal, but as one of my favorite sayings goes, "developmentally normal does not necessarily equal socially appropriate" ; skittering around is fine when your'e at a playground or at home, but in a store where everyone is trying to get something done it's just not cool IMO.

It usually gets better around 3, 3-1/2 years old; at least it did for my son anyway, my daughter is a little more high strung than my son so she still has her "cart moments". I actually think a fair amount of this has to do with temperament, really - DS was pretty easygoing about stuff like this, DD, not so much. So she was louder and more persistent trying to change it, it took her longer to get used to it.

Good luck!

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#8 of 38 Old 11-05-2010, 02:09 AM
 
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We make short (almost) daily trips to different stores, that way it is just part of the routine. I time the outing to coordinate with lunch and let the kiddos eat while they are in the cart. You have also gotten lots of other great advice here about keeping things playful and holding LO if necessary. Good luck.
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#9 of 38 Old 11-05-2010, 03:03 AM
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When I saw the title of your thread I thought about my DD when she was 23 months old, lol. We just stopped taking her to stores and restaurants for awhile. By 3 we could restaurants again and I could take her shopping again at about 2.75 years old. We'd still try to shop and if she couldn't behave we'd leave immediately and I'd come back later alone. Sometimes we'd go shopping as a family and one person would shop and the other would walk around with her and 'browse'. She was just really high energy and intense at that age. One thing that helped was to let her bring a toy with her shopping and to have a snack to give her.

Oh, and we only put her in a cart when she wanted. She did like holding part of the cart like she was helping push it and riding in the car things on the front of carts. When shopping as a family she usually had to hold someone's hand but that parent would walk around the store with her so she could move around more and look at stuff.
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#10 of 38 Old 11-05-2010, 03:33 AM
 
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My DS2 was like this, and the just create an expectation thing just didn't work - he was a houdini, would get out of any buckle, stand up, wrap his arms around me and climb onto me. It just wasn't safe having him constantly trying to climb out. For a good while he'd stand in the main section of the cart with DS1, but DS1 now is definitely old enough to walk beside me so now DS2 wants to walk too. I just make sure I only go grocery shopping when I have plenty of time and can go at their pace and patiently keep redirecting and he is getting the hang of it.

Good luck!
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#11 of 38 Old 11-05-2010, 04:22 AM
 
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I feel for you Mama! My DD is terribly independent and we have a hard time keeping her in the cart for more than 10 minutes at a time. Some things we have tried that others suggested as well are drinks, snacks, and fun and new things to play with. I have one specific tote that holds activities and snacks just for restaurants or shopping trips. DD is a night owl and goes to bed pretty late so we shop pretty late and that helps. The stores aren't as crowded and I don't have to worry as much about stares. If we do let her run it's also not as dangerous because there aren't that many people. I do agree that it goes much easier if she is put directly in a cart from the car and doesn't have a chance to walk.

Two things that work for us that I know I will get flamed for but are really special treats are first fast food and second riding in the basket. We don't do fast food as a rule but occasionally when I have a really big shopping trip and I need to hit a few different stores we will go to the first store and then go get a hamburger and french fries. If I see the kids meal has something in it DD will like, I let her eat her food and I pull out the toy or activity before she sees it and save it for the next store. That usually holds her interest in the store and I have a more content child because she has a full belly. If you are really opposed to fast food you can do your own version of that with food brought from home in a fun bag and a cheap dollar store toy and let him eat while your shopping from his very own bag! I also let DD ride in the basket sometimes. However, I am very cautious and my DD is not a climber. She much perfers to organize the groceries I put in there than try to climb out. I really think that is a personal decision based on knowing your child.

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#12 of 38 Old 11-05-2010, 09:10 AM
 
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A very dear friend of mine had a great way to get the kids to behave at the grocery store. She had 5 kids and they were always amazing in public....

There are two parts - first few times you do this - intend to shop without buying any frozen goods (you'll understand why in a second).

Before you leave for the store, sit your child down and give him the rules...

1. You must stay in the cart. If you want to walk, you must ask nicely (no yelling) and you may walk but you must hold the cart at all times and not touch anything on the shelf.

2. If you stay in the cart/by the cart and follow the rules, you get $2.00 to spend on whatever you want in the supermarket. It can be a toy, a cereal he wants, candy, whatever (you have no say in what he buys - it's his money that he earned).

3. If you yell, run away or pull something off the shelf, we will leave the store and you will not get your $2.00 and we will not get our groceries.

Then go to the store. If he starts to act up. Leave the cart where it is (find an employee and let them know you have to leave but there is nothing perishable in the cart) and then leave.

My girlfriend only had to leave the store 1x with each of her children in order for this to sink in.

Then the fun begins when they get it - you see what kind of strange things your kid will buy. She told me one time her son decided he wanted the shrimp cocktail - the kind that comes together -sauce and shrimp in a jar.


As a side note - one of the other things she did that I loved was at the playground, she'd take a piece of chalk and draw lines on the ground to "block off" areas she didn't want the kids to go. She'd tell them that she'd know when they were ready to leave because one of them would cross the line. Until the line was crossed (or until a set time arrived), they could play as much as they wanted. Again, only 1x did a kid cross the line and it never happened again.

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#13 of 38 Old 11-05-2010, 12:20 PM
 
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Can you wear him in an ergo type carrier? If he likes pulling things off shelves can you have him help shop by asking him to find things on your list. Give him and list (I know he can't read it but it helps) and then give him a job can you find the red apples. You found them! okay, we need 4 apples and have him put them in the bag etc....

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#14 of 38 Old 11-05-2010, 12:31 PM
 
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Tell them they have to stay in the cart, screaming or not, buckle the seat belt, ignore the screaming, and shop. In about 3 trips they'll quit screaming, and in total shock that there is actually an adult in charge, they will behave.

I did the single mom thing. No-one to leave the kids with and we need food. They got over it. Is a carseat negotiable? Nope. Some behaviour doesn't need to be either....it is for their safety.
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#15 of 38 Old 11-05-2010, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by fuzzylogic View Post
Tell them they have to stay in the cart, screaming or not, buckle the seat belt, ignore the screaming, and shop. In about 3 trips they'll quit screaming, and in total shock that there is actually an adult in charge, they will behave.

I did the single mom thing. No-one to leave the kids with and we need food. They got over it. Is a carseat negotiable? Nope. Some behaviour doesn't need to be either....it is for their safety.
This is a gentle discipline forum. Maybe you should read the stickies to get an idea about what exactly that means before you post. There's research indicating that just ignoring small children while they scream is bad for them on neurological and emotional levels. Here's a link http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/li...n_palmer2.html .
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#16 of 38 Old 11-05-2010, 09:47 PM
 
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This is a gentle discipline forum. Maybe you should read the stickies to get an idea about what exactly that means before you post. There's research indicating that just ignoring small children while they scream is bad for them on neurological and emotional levels. Here's a link http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/li...n_palmer2.html .
I think this is a little harsh. It is one thing to just ignore a child when they cry and another to ignore a tantrum. Everyone deals with tantrums differently even on the GD board. I think there are better ways to deal with a tantrum than ignoring them, but I don't think that it is necessarily not GD to ignore them.
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#17 of 38 Old 11-05-2010, 09:59 PM
 
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You can ignore the screaming without ignoring the child. Talk to them about what you're picking out, offer to let them hold something (unbreakable), etc.

Personally, I am very strict at the grocery store. It's something that we have to do often, with four children and it doesn't always work to wait for a time dh can watch them.

In our family, you sit in the cart until you're big enough to keep up with everyone walking and walk without complaining. If you're not riding in the cart, you have to hold onto your designated spot on the side of the cart unless you are getting something from the list.

I'm not the most fun mom to shop with, but having a system that the kids are used to makes the being gentle part easy. They know what's expected and they do it so that we can get the shopping done, go home and play.

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#18 of 38 Old 11-06-2010, 12:13 AM
 
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You can ignore the screaming without ignoring the child. Talk to them about what you're picking out, offer to let them hold something (unbreakable), etc.
:

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#19 of 38 Old 11-06-2010, 08:07 AM
 
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Tell them they have to stay in the cart, screaming or not, buckle the seat belt, ignore the screaming, and shop. In about 3 trips they'll quit screaming, and in total shock that there is actually an adult in charge, they will behave.

I did the single mom thing. No-one to leave the kids with and we need food. They got over it. Is a carseat negotiable? Nope. Some behaviour doesn't need to be either....it is for their safety.
I agree with this (and don't think it's 'anti' GD). Except for us it only took one trip. I had gotten into awful habits with DD (about the same ages as the OP's son) until one day I felt sick and really couldn't deal with her. I HAD to shop but I couldn't carry her or chase after her or anything. Too sick. So I put her in the cart and she screamed and tantrumed and freaked out. I was calm and reassuring and kept sitting her down again and again and again. She got over it and now is mostly fine when we shop. I do let her walk now a bit (she's 2) but into the cart she goes if she's not listening. Irrespective of the tantrum.

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#20 of 38 Old 11-06-2010, 10:05 AM
 
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I agree with this (and don't think it's 'anti' GD). Except for us it only took one trip. I had gotten into awful habits with DD (about the same ages as the OP's son) until one day I felt sick and really couldn't deal with her. I HAD to shop but I couldn't carry her or chase after her or anything. Too sick. So I put her in the cart and she screamed and tantrumed and freaked out. I was calm and reassuring and kept sitting her down again and again and again. She got over it and now is mostly fine when we shop. I do let her walk now a bit (she's 2) but into the cart she goes if she's not listening. Irrespective of the tantrum.

Yes. Calm repetition is the key, and the calm part is the hardest part of it Being calm, kind, and empathetic, but unmoving in your position is TOUGH! With a strong willed, persistent child it can be exhausting and push you to the brink, because they take way longer to get to the point of futility (which is what tantrums are about). You can be calm, empathetic, and still enforce the boundary and as long as you're consistent, even if it takes 30 times, they will eventually get it.

I wish I could say that my strong willed, persistent DD "got it" after 1, 2, or 3 times of gently/firmly enforcing a boundary. She seems to get things more like after 15-20 times. We've left places/situations probably 8-10 times at this point, and she seems to finally be getting it. 99% of the time she's fine....but that 1% she still needs to be removed for her (overwhelmed), my (aggravated), and other people's sake.

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#21 of 38 Old 11-06-2010, 10:06 AM
 
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"You can ignore the screaming without ignoring the child."


I am a SAHM with a husband. I can plan my shopping trips so as to avoid taking a screamer to the store. I can go when DH is not working, or when my screamer is attending their lovely nurturing preschool, or spending time with their lovely nurturing grandma who lives down the street.

If I couldn't do that, then I WOULDN'T do that. I'd strap my screamer in the cart, keep up a stream of positive chatter as I shopped, and just freaking get through it. And I would certainly not expect to be judged by the other hippie moms in the store. I'd expect them to assume that I was doing my best.
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#22 of 38 Old 11-06-2010, 10:12 AM
 
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"You can ignore the screaming without ignoring the child."


I am a SAHM with a husband. I can plan my shopping trips so as to avoid taking a screamer to the store. I can go when DH is not working, or when my screamer is attending their lovely nurturing preschool, or spending time with their lovely nurturing grandma who lives down the street.

If I couldn't do that, then I WOULDN'T do that. I'd strap my screamer in the cart, keep up a stream of positive chatter as I shopped, and just freaking get through it. And I would certainly not expect to be judged by the other hippie moms in the store. I'd expect them to assume that I was doing my best.

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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#23 of 38 Old 11-08-2010, 09:50 AM
 
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Quick story about the ignoring of the screamer...

One day I HAD to get a few things at the store. My DS melted the minute we walked in. I even managed to score one of those cool rocket ship carts for him but he wanted to walk. He cried and cried and yelled and yelled. I just calmly told him I'm sorry he wasn't getting his way but this is the way we need to do things and if he wants to visit his friends (he loves to look at the lobsters) he was going to have to calm down. Nope, this time, didn't work. He cried and cried. Then I see a woman down on the other end of the market waving frantically at me. I looked behind me and no one was there. As I got closer she ignored me and said to my son "are you a crazy driver? Don't crash into my cart!" and with that she bumped our cart ever so gently and she just laughed. OMG - my son started to laugh with her and said "Mommy I a crazy driver!" Poof - drama done.

Moral of the story - if you see another parent with a melty child - please don't be afraid to pitch in for the cause

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#24 of 38 Old 11-08-2010, 01:45 PM
 
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A very dear friend of mine had a great way to get the kids to behave at the grocery store. She had 5 kids and they were always amazing in public....

There are two parts - first few times you do this - intend to shop without buying any frozen goods (you'll understand why in a second).

Before you leave for the store, sit your child down and give him the rules...

1. You must stay in the cart. If you want to walk, you must ask nicely (no yelling) and you may walk but you must hold the cart at all times and not touch anything on the shelf.

2. If you stay in the cart/by the cart and follow the rules, you get $2.00 to spend on whatever you want in the supermarket. It can be a toy, a cereal he wants, candy, whatever (you have no say in what he buys - it's his money that he earned).

3. If you yell, run away or pull something off the shelf, we will leave the store and you will not get your $2.00 and we will not get our groceries.

Then go to the store. If he starts to act up. Leave the cart where it is (find an employee and let them know you have to leave but there is nothing perishable in the cart) and then leave.

My girlfriend only had to leave the store 1x with each of her children in order for this to sink in.

Then the fun begins when they get it - you see what kind of strange things your kid will buy. She told me one time her son decided he wanted the shrimp cocktail - the kind that comes together -sauce and shrimp in a jar.


As a side note - one of the other things she did that I loved was at the playground, she'd take a piece of chalk and draw lines on the ground to "block off" areas she didn't want the kids to go. She'd tell them that she'd know when they were ready to leave because one of them would cross the line. Until the line was crossed (or until a set time arrived), they could play as much as they wanted. Again, only 1x did a kid cross the line and it never happened again.
These methods really rub me the wrong way. It just seems excessively...something. I can't imagine holding on to a shopping cart for an extended period of time. And I can't imagine paying my children to go shopping with me.
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#25 of 38 Old 11-08-2010, 05:27 PM
 
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I think the idea of payment also helps with the "I wants" it isn't a bribe to me, it is like any other chore, and shopping with young ones is just that, a chore.

DS is 11 months, and while he can't walk on his own yet, he loves to help push the cart. I tend to let him sit in the basket, it is less restrictive (no seat belt) and there is more room for stuff to put in back with him to keep him occupied.

My mom's tried and true trick was a box of animal crackers.

I think eventually you will hit on whatever works best for you.

Katrina - Mama to Gabriel  sleepytime.gif 11/20/2009 and Norah vbac.gif 10/11/2011- married to Wayne - geek.gif novaxnocirc.gifbfinfant.giffamilybed1.gifcd.gif&nbspand now new baby Theodore born 3/11/13 vbac.gif

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#26 of 38 Old 11-08-2010, 07:31 PM
 
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Is your market really huge? Because at that age I started going to a supermarket that was really small and local, and I asked the door guards to keep an eye at the door for him, and showed him where the customer service lady was and then we'd go in, say hello to everyone and divide the list into thing he could get and things I had to get, and I'd let him wander.

When we occassionally had to do a big shop at a giant store, he was allowed out IF he stayed in the same aisle and he would get items from the low shelves there. When he broke the rule (ie ran away) he went back in the cart for three minutes, the next time six minutes, then the rest of the trip. If he followed the rules the whole time, he was allowed to pick out a new coloring book at the book aisle before we left.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#27 of 38 Old 11-25-2010, 12:42 PM
 
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I have 22 mo old twins plus a 5 yr old that I take shopping on a regular basis.  When I am tired and want to get through the shopping trip faster, I will shop at night when my dh is home.  They love spending time with daddy when mommy isn't home!

 

Anyways, I play games with my kids.  I did this as a nanny when I had to take all 3 kids shopping.  I started in the produce and they had to find things on my list.  It helps the kids learn their fruits/veggies and colors!!  Its like playing I Spy with them!!!  My oldest loves playing "I Spy" for the groceries!  My twins absolutely love to toss things into the basket too.  I give them lightweight things to throw in.  They can also put apples, oranges, bell peppers, cucumbers, potatoes, anything in the produce bags for me.  I hold the bag and count with them. 

 

Something that helps too is taking toys that they don't play with very often.  We have toys in the car that stay in the car but can be taken into restaurants and stores. 

 

Get your ds involved in the shopping.

 

Something my kids get to have is a cookie when we go to a particular store.  Kids 6 and under get a free cookie from the bakery.  When my kids turn a year old, its a big thing for them to get their first free cookie there!!  My twins usually share a cookie.  We don't go to this store very often and we don't eat a lot of sweets at home so I am completely ok with this.


Lynn, wife to Jason  SAHM to Nate, Riley and Jon
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#28 of 38 Old 11-26-2010, 05:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, so I have had much better luck since implementing some of the ideas I was given on this thread! First of all, I tried to make sure DS had either just gotten up for the day or just gotten up from a nap before planning grocery trips, which helped. Previously, we'd get up, eat breakfast, play, and about 3-4 hours later go grocery shopping. He was closer to being ready for a nap. I didn't realize what a difference a couple of hours would make! I also give him a treat, like popcorn or fruit leather, and started bringing crayons and paper with me into the store. As long as he's well rested, has something to occupy him, he stays in the cart! It's amazing! :) I've just decided it's not worth the battle to try and take him in unless all conditions are good, rested, fed, occupied. So thank you! Shopping has been much better.


DH(9/04) DS(12/08) and DD(5/11)

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#29 of 38 Old 11-26-2010, 07:58 AM
 
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AWESOME!!


Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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#30 of 38 Old 11-27-2010, 05:14 AM
 
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Here's what I do with my DS (who sounds very similar to yours).  I start by telling him in the car that he needs to stay next to me while in the store if he wants to walk, otherwise he'll have to sit in the cart. I remind him again once we get into the store. He starts off walking next to me and if he takes off I give the first warning " you cannot take off in the store, if you do it again you'll have to sit in the cart because I need you to stay close to me and be safe" if he does it again he goes into the cart, right away. There is usually screaming but do it, trust me the screaming stops. He sits in the cart for a few minutes and I tell him I can't talk to him while he's screaming but if he uses his words we can discuss walking. He ALWAYS calms down (I use the "can't talk unless you use your words a lot at home), I say I'll give him another chance to walk but he needs to be a good listener and helper. Usually that is all it takes, but if we have a rough day where he isn't listening I check out with the stuff I have in the cart (screaming child or not) and we try again. The first 2 or 3 times I did this it was rough, but after that he knows what to expect so he does it.

 

I think if you start a pattern for your expectations your little guy will pick it up and shopping will become a lot easier. I know how tough it is to have a screaming toddler in a store or a toddler who is pulling everything off the shelf. 

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