How to Stop Shopping Tantrums

A recent UK survey found that one in six parents cave to their child’s demands when out shopping.  How then do we stop shopping tantrums our children display? The survey showed that of those that give in, four out of five give snacks that go against what they would normally consider healthy. Three quarters brought a beauty or toiletry product, and seven out of 10 purchased lollies or a book. Many parents state that they try to deny their children their demands but often give in to keep them quiet How then do parents stand firm when their child’s behaviour escalates to the stage of loud embarrassment when out in public because they are demanding something they want and they want it NOW!!! Taking the following approach helps parents find calm when out shopping with their young child and sets some clear boundaries for the child to understand. If parents continually give in to their child’s demands, especially after telling the No,  they are teaching the child that the longer and louder they scream or yell, the more success they achieve and this sends a very wrong message. We should focus on being proactive, not reactive, to our child’s demands. I suggest advising your child of your rules and their boundaries, both prior to the outing and during it. The successful strategy I have taught many parents is when the child requests something, say ‘Yes, I will consider that’, and then only do so if their behaviour warrants it.  But don’t buy it right away – allow them to wait. I recommend buying the item the first two times you use this tactic – as long as it’s small and they have behaved well – but not the third time. Buy again a small item the fourth then use your own discretion. It is important to allow them to have a treat occasionally. This way the child understands they may get what it is they are asking for, yet it’s not an absolute given. While we want our children to be happy, it’s our responsibility to demonstrate and teach self-control, rules and boundaries, as this is what life is about. When the child can understand and believe that your decision is fair and reasonable this can greatly assist you to stick to your decision. As an alternative to buying something I suggest treats can be special time with you at the park, kicking a ball with you, reading a book together or doing puzzles or games.  A treat can also include their choice of restaurant to go to for a special occasion, or a program to watch on television together, even their selection of DVD or game. There are a variety of different treats and rewards you can offer a child without using food or tangible items,. This being said, it is often the case of re-educating the child with different things – and again, this means sitting down and speaking to the child about the changes and decisions you as the parents are making. Remember time spent with you, their parent, is the absolute best reward any child can receive. Your time, attention, fun and laughter is worth thousands of games or toys. So if this is an issue for you I advise (as long as your child is about 3 years plus) to sit down and clearly explain your expectations and requirements. We too often tell our children what we do not want them to do without clearly telling them of what we do want. Children often try to do as their parent requires, they want their approval and attention. So when out, as long as the child clearly understands their boundaries, your expectations, any rewards or consequences, the rules are clear. If you stick with this suggestion it should work extremely well as it has for hundreds of parents. The trick is to stand firm, not get angry and allow the child to know that a reward is earned, not an expected given.   You can read an article on this at Essential Child from Jo Hartley

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