Monday, June 18, 2007

Tantrums At The Supermarket?

Gorgeous scrap courtesy of Cairo's Aunty Jazzmint

After reading The New Parent's post on how our kids are actually imitating our actions and behaviours most of the time (he gave an example of what he saw in the market), I did a little reflection and decided to write about my own grocery shopping experience with Cairo too.

Now, we've all seen kids throwing tantrums and screaming their lungs out while trashing on the supermarket floor when denied something. A harassed looking parent would be trying, albeit unsuccessfully, to cajole / threaten / scold / beat / bribe the kid into submission. I pity those parents as most often, they would be pressured into going for quick fixes, just to stop the feeling of being judged by onlookers.

I consider myself lucky as Cairo's tantrums are much milder. Plus I'm able to wriggle out of these situations before I attract a crowd. Or maybe, Cairo has yet to grow into a formidable match yet. Either way, I better boast now while I still can :p

Now when Cairo picks up something from the aisle which is not needed, I'd try to take it away. Normally she would refuse. Then I try the following techniques:
  • I tell her why we're not getting it as though she could understand me (we don't know how to use it / not tasty / too expensive / useless...). Well, maybe she could, who knows! A simple "No!" when she is perilously close to breaking something should always be followed by an explanation. Or else I'll be no different from a bully and a brute.
  • I try to distract her by getting something already in the cart and let her hold on to it OR I let her take something I really needed anyway from nearby shelves.
  • Failing the above, I would then burst into a song (sung softly, of course) or play some clapping games with her, right in the middle of the supermarket (that's when I get a little desperate, I know) and she would forget about the object while we wheel her away.
  • If I see that she is really attached to the object and it has a cartoon or face etc on it, I would tell her to say bye bye to it. She seems to understand the finality of the word.
I've also picked up a very good trick one day when I saw a group of preschoolers and their teachers in a supermarket. It was a sort of field trip for them or something.

I was puzzled at first (come on, the Merlion I get, but supermarket...duh!). I was shaking my head until I saw the teachers turning the place into an impromptu classroom! "This is cold" "Ooooooh." "That is hard" "Oooooh." "Watermelon is actually so big" "Wahhhh!"

It went on and on. Great for the kids, who were so excited you'd think they were touring NASA or the Palace or something. Bad for the grapes, who got poked at repeatedly though :p

Anyway, from then on, I started to expose Cairo to "Supermarket Education" too. No more just wheeling her about in the cart while I grab my stuff and go. She now gets to participate actively and she seems to enjoy every minute of it!

Also, by choosing suitable stuff to talk about to her first, I cut down the frequency of her bored, wandering eye or hand landing on dangerous or breakable stuff. Let's face it, a bored toddler is bound to find her own excitement and we can't really blame them for it, can we?

While we're at it, I have also decided that when she is old enough to do math, I will turn her into my personal walking-calculator and total up the bill as we shop, hehehe.

Good idea or what?


Etcetera~Mommy said...

Indeed an interesting and informative post. Thanks for sharing.

Btw.. nice scrap fr Aunt Jazz there!

jazzmint said...

hehe yes, supermarket is good education place. best is even ask them buy cheese, pass to them..ask them what's that...and let them put into the trolley. they love role playing ;)

Anggie's journel said...

Morning Cairo mama, thanks for the good sharing, i properly need ur idea soon ... to deal with my naughty boy .:) tq tq

Zara's Mama said...

Good idea.. good method!

My hubby does that too.. showing Zara everything, asking her to smell every thing.. naming the things.

Her vocabulary extended everytime we go to the supermarket or wet market.

Btw, I tagged you..

jazzmint said...

wei nice banner ;)

HMom said...

NIce scrap. That's a good method, makes life easier and they learn too!

esther said...

Hi, enjoy reading your blog. Very informative and practical..thanks for sharing.

The New Parent said...

Hi CM--I would love to see you walking down the aisles singing away!

I agree with your conclusion--Supermarket Education. It's such a great place for a young one to learn so many interesting things and you already have their attention!

Introduce them to new items, textures, smells, tasted, etc.

Now, once they start reading (my new collaborative post), you can write out the market list clearly and they can read it to you (which my daughter does)!

Tho, I love your child as calculator idea! Wonderful post!

Malaika's mummy said...

Great idea you have.

kiasumum said...

thanx for dropping by my blog & comment. u hv a nice blog... one more place for me to learn more in blogging....

G @ said...

ur little girl is very pretty, love those big eyes!