How to survive toddler tantrums while shopping

My kid has an epic case of the gimmies

The solution? Give them the power

toddler tantrums


You want the hard truth? They learned it from you. If you keep saying, “No, we don’t need that,” while impulsively adding things to the cart, they pick up the pattern, says Alyson Shafer, parenting expert and author of Ain’t Misbehaving and Honey I Wrecked the Kids. And once they’re in full meltdown, it’s too late for reason. “That part of their brain is offline,” she says. “All you can do is comfort them. Give them a quick rub on the back and ask, ‘Can you calm yourself or do we need to go?’” It’s okay to pick them up—“in a loving way, not like a rolled carpet”—and head back to the car, adds Shafer. Your kindergartner’s not going to come around to your point of view today. The problem, she says, is that we have the purchasing power, not them—and that’s infuriating. The solution? Give them the power. “You can ask, ‘Do you have your money with you? This costs three allowances. No? We’ll need to come back when you have enough.’” As for setting those allowances, Shafer says to be realistic. “Think of what you’re actually spending on them—all those dollar-store visits—and transfer the purchasing power to them.” After all, with great power comes great responsibility.

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