I am a firm believer in teaching children in the moment. Sometimes, however, said moment arises and finds you completely at a loss as to what to do. Well, NO MORE! Random Ninja is here to save you from your totally unprepared self! You're welcome.
What will you do in the event that this is the happy day your child decides to be all "HULK MAD! HULK SMASH!" with a bombardment of spaghetti sauces because you refused him a new Matchbox car?
It helps to have a few grocery store rules to begin with. I have always given the kids a choice to either hold onto the cart with one hand or sit IN the seat of the cart. If you let go, you get in the cart.
That's a blog for another day, so we'll get back to the little noisemakers.
You must first resist the urge to throttle your child. Please. If you leave the store, plan to return immediately. Leaving is how we teach children that if they can't have what they want, they can just get mom to take them home, which is often what they wanted in the first place. This is a great opportunity for your child to learn what's acceptable behavior in a public place. Seize it!
If the child is already in the cart, GREAT! Ignore him. Don't talk to him, don't look at him, don't pacify him with a box of Cheerios or a new toy that you have no intention of buying him. Keep shopping and avoid the aisles containing pickle jars and tomato sauces. If it becomes too much for you to handle without losing your marbles and housing the little twerp in the deep freeze, park your cart somewhere in the back of the store, with the tantrum thrower facing a wall. Tell him you'll continue shopping when he's calmed down. Walk out of his sight (behind him usually works best, so you can still see him but he has to crane his neck to see you). Now you wait. Read a magazine.
If he's not in the cart, you have three choices:
1. You can lay down next to him and do what he's doing (which will earn you bonus glares from passersby).
2. You can pick him up and put him in the cart if he's small enough for you to lift.
Or 3. You can leave him flailing around on the ground and walk away.
Obviously, you have to know your kid in order to use number 3, as you'll have some children who live fearlessly in our world and will likely run in the opposite direction, getting themselves into more trouble than this method is worth. Mine always picked themselves up and followed me. It's possible that they were afraid I'd actually leave them in the store. (Moi?! Never!) Still, it worked extremely well and I'm happy to say that once I chose my tantrum-squelching techniques and used them unfailingly, tantrums no longer plagued our trips to the store.
You are now armed with a plan of attack or at least a few ideas to formulate a plan of your own. I hope to see fewer faces peering out from behind the frozen veggies.
Go forth and kick some ass.