5 Tips to Avoid Kids Meltdowns at the Grocery Store

Are you already cringing, remembering your child’s latest meltdown? The slow crescendo of the siren-like wail, their red-faced agony matching your own red-faced embarrassment. It’s tough when your little one has a meltdown in public — almost as tough as ignoring the mom guilt it triggers in you.

But you are not alone! You are not a bad parent! Meltdowns happen to everyone, but here’s some tips to prevent you from feeling the weight of mom guilt.

Tip #1) Make it easier to gather your shopping gear.

  • Packed a “busy bag”? Grab a kid-friendly bag, picture book, stuffed animal, special “grocery only” toy :), snack, drink, baby wipes, and voila! Instead of a stressed out mom that needs help, you’re on your way to “Mom of the Year”!
  • Got your Buggie Huggie™? You’ve got enough to focus on without stressing about your child falling out of the cart. Adding the Buggie Huggie™ to your list of shopping essentials is your best solution to enjoy the convenience of hands free shopping with your toddler!


Tip #2) Upgrade your shopping route inside the store.

Whether you’re meal planning for one month, week, or one hour, several great apps (like eMeals) auto-prepare grocery lists by section as you add recipes. Or, if you prefer paper, print these pre-sorted grocery lists to keep handy in the car. Just 2 minutes of planning before going inside is a game changer!

Tip #3) Prepare your kids what to expect.

The grocery store can be thrilling and overwhelming. Setting expectations in advance helps guide your kids, especially about telling them “no” — a classic meltdown trigger.

“We’re going to buy some yummy food! You get to ride in your Buggie Huggie™so you’ll be safe. Sometimes, Mommy will say “no” to you, but if you listen to Mommy, we’ll have fun!”


Tip #4) Create fun “checkpoints” throughout the store

What if shopping together could help you and your child relax, creating meaningful moments along the way? These checkpoints can transform a burden into a blast:

  • Make the busy bag special by unveiling items one at a time
  • Sing or dance to celebrate finishing an aisle
  • Narrate what you’re buying and why
  • Tell stories about items, like grandma’s favorite ice cream
  • Start a tickle-fest before braving a “meltdown minefield” aisle
  • Use the Calm app for deep breathing exercises to bring it down a notch…

Unless the meltdown goes full-blown…then remember:

Tip #5) A meltdown never defines you or your child.

Psychologists say meltdowns are part of our normal development — how we learn to experience the pain of difficult feelings, release it and move on.

You’ve got this, Mama. Take a deep breath and wait it out, or get your child to a quieter space to calm down. Forgive yourself & your child. Your child is not a failure, and neither are you – you can both learn from this!