A few days ago Hudson had a major meltdown at the grocery store. I normally do my shopping alone for this very reason, but I only needed to pick up a few things for dinner that night and I thought he could handle it. WRONG. Have you ever tried to give a cat a bath? They scream at you, claw at you, and arch their back and shoot their arms and legs out and make it clear they aren’t going in that water without a fight. That was Hudson at the grocery store. He. Would. Not. Go. In. The. Cart. No sir. Thankfully, I managed to keep my cool. But I learned a few things along the way that I thought I might share with you all…in case you ever find yourself in the same situation. And if you are a mom, it’s basically guaranteed.
1. Stay Calm. Keep your cool and don’t let your toddler and their tantrum get to you. I know it’s easier said than done, but you are the adult. It’s your job to not break down and have a tantrum yourself. Save that for once you get home.
2. Hold Your Head Up High. It is not your fault your toddler is having a tantrum in a public place. That’s what they do. It’s like their job. Being shamed by your child’s behavior can cause you to act in ways you wouldn’t normally…so don’t blame yourself.
3. Keep Your Voice Low. There is nothing worse than a screaming child AND a screaming parent. Yelling will do you no good. Whisper in your child’s ear using your “firm voice” but don’t ever yell at them. This goes for at home too. Yelling accomplishes nothing. Unless they are going to light themselves on fire or something. If that’s the case then go ahead and yell all you want.
4. Bribe. Yep, I said it. Bribe your child. Cookies, fruit snacks, whatever they like. If it saves you the drama of a meltdown, do it.
5. Avoid Temptations if Possible. This was my fatal mistake. Although most people would argue the grocery store is pretty boring, most toddlers will disagree. Hudson was happily sitting in the cart munching on some cookies (see above i.e. bribery) when he spotted the fish tanks. Our grocery store has a pet section and a gazillion colorful fish. Rookie mistake on my part. Had we been at Target, where I take Hudson frequently, I would have know better…but I never even paid attention to the fish tanks at the grocery store before. Now I know better. Avoid the toy aisle, candy aisle, holiday section, sports equipment, and pet section if possible. Dog toys look just like kid toys to a toddler, so stay clear.
6. Don’t Let Them Out of the Cart. Repeat after me. Don’t let them out of the cart. No matter how much your child screams, don’t let them out of the cart. Be sure to buckle them in tight. Because if you let them out of the cart, it will be IMPOSSIBLE to get them back in and their cries will be ten times worse when you try. Remember the cat in the bath? Don’t let that be you. It’s no fun, trust me.
7. Distract, Distract, Distract. Mommy is my name, and distraction is my game. Oh, you want to play with the fish? Can you make a fish face with your mouth? Want some fish crackers? ANYTHING you can do to distract them, do it.
8. Keep Your Trip Short. This is not the time to browse the sale section or ponder which type of yogurt has the most health benefits. When you have your toddler with you, you must be in full speed mode at all times. They can be happy as can be but when they are done, they are DONE. And this is totally unpredictable. Time is your enemy. Go as fast as possible.
9. Layer It Up. I find that when I get nervous, I get hot. So when Hudson had his meltdown I started to sweat….luckily I had some layers on I was able to quickly strip off. It was quite the show, I’m sure. Anything you can do to stay comfortable will help you keep your cool.
10. Don’t Judge. Most importantly, don’t judge other moms. If you see someone with a toddler that is freaking out, don’t judge that mom. We are all in this together. If you feel someone judging you while you are dealing with your toddler’s meltdown, just ignore them. Who cares what they think? Chances are they don’t have kids, because if they did, they would know better. You are a good mom.