Saturday, November 25, 2006

Day 278 - Getting Through Shopping

Today's first time parenting tip - Let your infant pick out something to hang onto when he first gets to the store

If it hasn't happened to you already, it will. The screaming, wailing child at the grocery store. You'll have a full shopping cart and you'll be in the middle of the line when it hits.

What can you do to mitigate tantrums? Something you can try is to let your infant or toddler pick out something they want when you first get to the store. It should be something small and cheap, if you'll be doing this regularly. For instance, my son (who is 11 months old and frankly is very easy to please) was fussy until we let him grab an orange of the fruit stand at Trader Joe's.

That orange was his best friend all the way until halfway home when he dropped it sitting in his car seat. This may not work for all kids, but it's something to try.

By giving them a tangible reward at the beginning of the trip, you're making the prospect of a reward more real than just saying "If you're good, you can have a treat at the end." Without that treat in hand, children are more likely to act on impulse when they see something they want.

By having something already, it forces them to choose. "I've got this thing I want already, is it worth giving it up for that other thing I probably won't get?" You'll also teach patience and the ability to connect their good behavior with a good result. (Because it's in their hand constantly).

The downside to this is every time you go in the store, you'll have to get them something. After all consistency is key. That's why, if you try it, make the payoff a small treat like a piece of gum or even a healthy snack you bring in from the car.

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