How to Avoid Shopping Mall Tantrums

By in Parenting on 25 April 2010

Going to the mall with a kid in tow is fun but complicated at the same time. Most kids love the change of scenery while their parents enjoy spending leisure time with them. In a perfect world, the child will happily tag along and keep himself amused as the parent unwinds and casually goes on with the shopping. Unfortunately, in the real world, child behavior is unpredictable and temper tantrums are unavoidable.

A delightful day out with your tot can easily turn sour because of tantrum spells. Kids generally throw tantrums to catch attention or to get what they want. They use different tactics like screaming and crying, lying on the floor, kicking their feet and refusing to be picked up. It’s their way of communicating their anger, disappointment or frustration, especially upon being told “no”.

Here are some tips on how to keep your child from creating a scene in a public place, like a shopping mall.

  1. Choose a good time. When you plan on bringing your kid to the mall, pick a good schedule such that your child is not sleepy or hungry. Time it after he is done with potty to avoid the hassle of changing in a public bathroom. Make sure the trip wouldn’t last for hours because it will exhaust your child and it may trigger an outburst.
  2. Prepare a shopping list. Have a list ready so you can finish your shopping faster than your child can say “Mommy, I wanna go home”. After your job is done, you can freely browse and not worry about having to cut your trip short in case you toddler decides to have a meltdown.
  3. Distract. Children easily get bored while you run your errands. Keep your little one busy with toys or bring a stroller so he can be comfortable and may even fall asleep while you roam the aisles. Talk to your child as you pass by interesting products and let him take part in choosing what to buy. If you have an older child or companion with you, you can let them push the stroller around while you fill up your cart.
  4. Browse wisely. Toys and kids are like magnets. It’s a good idea to avoid the toys section if you want to save time and money. Sometimes you can’t, though, because you want your child to enjoy or he might have been the one who pulled you to the toy store in the first place. If this happens, give him freedom to look at the toys but never give in if he asks you to buy one out of whim. Once your little man finds out he can manipulate you, he may remember and he might develop a habit.
  5. Compliment good behavior. Rewarding positive acts is better than punishing negative ones. Shower your child with compliments for being a good kid – whenever he puts a toy back on the shelf, upon leaving the toy store without resistance, etc. Your child will appreciate the attention and hopefully not crave for some more.
  6. Anticipate. Look out for signs of ‘calm before the storm’. Sometimes, tantrums can be avoided when your child is redirected at the right time. When your toddler starts dragging his feet, head for a bench and take a break. If you think a major meltdown is underway, be ready to bolt and reschedule your shopping at a later time.

Preventing temper tantrums is easier than dealing with a full blown episode, which can be embarrassing. As your child grows older, he will develop better communication and self-control. Till then, you can apply these tips for a smooth sailing mall trip.


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