The struggle is real!

By Sylvia Arotin

Imagine a smooth sailing supermarket run with kids. Unimaginable?

How many of you catch yourself instructing a million times “Don’t touch that”, “No you can’t have that” – like a broken record, “Sit Down!” (in the trolley), “Come here right now!”, “If you do that one more time you won’t get…” – Here we go again!

Soon the smooth sailing supermarket run turns into dreading bringing the kids along and just wanting to go home. We’ve all been there where your child has decided to run away or stand next to the kinder surprise and scream their lungs out to get what they wanted.

Discover practical, easy-to-implement strategies to gently navigate your child’s emotional outbursts, while maintaining your own sense of calm.

What if I told you it doesn’t actually have to be that way and there can actually be a smooth sailing supermarket run? In fact, the more we yell and instruct our children, the more we end up yelling. We’ve trained our kids to know they don’t really have to listen until we start screaming. It’s almost like a catch 22.

Here’s a few things that you can do instead?

  • Lay down the rules – Before you go to the supermarket lay down the rules/boundaries so there is a clear expectation and no surprises. For eg. If your child is a runner: “At the supermarket you need to sit in the trolley.” Usually when there is warning involved children know what to expect and will cooperate. If there is resistance, acknowledge feelings, “You just don’t want to sit in the trolley”, this allows you to relate to your child at their level. Then state your expectations objectively and calmly “The rule is at the supermarket the trolley is for sitting in”. Then offer a choice “I can help you now or in one minute you choose”, this allows the child to feel a sense of ownership over the situation.
  • Be prepared to follow through – if the above situation escalates be prepared to follow through. If your child fails to choose and you have now given them a second choice, “I will have to place you in the trolley now or we can go home, you choose” be prepared to go home as your child has chosen this as a consequence.
  • Give in fantasy what a child would like in reality – If a child is begging you for a chocolate use fantasy to give them what they wish for. “You really want a kinder surprise…I wish I could give you a mountain of chocolate right now pouring from that ceiling…what chocolate would you put on the mountain?”. This allows the child to use their imagination and fulfill that desire.
  • Make them a part of the experience – Allow your child to write their own list at home and bring it with them and also to help you place items into the trolley. When a child feels a sense of purpose and autonomy, they feel empowered and have a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

A smooth supermarket run with kids is actually possible…it all boils down to effective communication.

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