Okay, we’ve all experienced it: the meltdown in the grocery store, the carrying-on at the family restaurant, the unacceptable behavior during church service.
No, you’re NOT a bad parent! Kids will be kids; they can often easily be bored, or distracted, or just unhappy about being in a certain place at a certain time. However, this doesn’t mean the behavior should be condoned. Screaming and crying and throwing a tantrum is simply NOT acceptable in most public settings.
So how do you assure that your child is well-behaved when out in public?
There’s no easy answer; what works for one child might not work for another, and in some cases you might have to try a few things, like rewards for good behavior, that can go a long way toward a well-mannered and agreeable child in the grocery store, restaurant, theater, or mall.
Here are some things you might try to help guarantee a more successful day out when you have young ones in tow.
How to Avoid a Day Out From Turning Into a Nightmare
Planning to run a few errands with your toddler? There are a few things you might do to help avoid meltdowns and tantrums and keep them well-behaved in public.
- Make sure your child has eaten and gone potty before leaving the house. Some misbehaviors can be linked to being hungry or having to go to the bathroom
- Bring a favorite toy or toys, books, or other items that can keep your child occupied while you’re out
- Take a short trip if you sense your child is not up to a day out; for instance, if your child is already cranky before leaving home, it might not be in your–or her–best interest to hit the bank, grocery store, dry cleaner’s, gas station AND pharmacy in one trip
Also, rehearse good/bad behavior rewards and consequences on short trips. Go to the grocery store for only a few items and let your child experience the praise and/or the punishment for being an angel or making life difficult while you’re out. Once they know you mean business and that rewards await good behavior, they might be more apt to do the right thing when you’re running several errands.
What To Do When the “Bad” Child Comes Out
Next time you’re out pushing your little one in his or her cool Daphyl’s stroller through the mall or grocery store and they’re screaming and crying because they’ve seen something they want that they can’t have, what do you do?
Reinforce the rules. Remind them that they promised to be well-behaved and follow those rules. If need be, head to a quiet corner at the back of the store or back out to the car until your child is calmed. Don’t raise your voice. Get down to your child’s level and speak gently.
Try to redirect their attention to something else. If you can get them to laugh, even better. It might feel like hours, but a tantrum can be over pretty quickly if handled the right way.
If all else fails, your day out just might have to be abandoned for a later date. This is where the consequences come in. No child enjoys being punished or reprimanded. A trip cut short might happen once or twice, but with consistency on your part when it comes to consequences, your child will quickly learn that unacceptable behavior in public will have an adverse effect on him or her.
Eventually, like everything else, you’ll master this, too. Because you rock, Mom (and Dad)!
Editor’s Note: Harrison Howe is a freelance content provider & writer for Daphyl’s LLC. Daphyl’s is a USA based multi-national world leader in safe, innovative, Licensed Rock N Roll, branded baby gear. The opinions, advice and assertions made in this article are for entertainment and information purposes only & are solely those of the author.