“Wandering Away in Public Places”
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Curious toddlers make a mental picture of all the fun things they will see and be able to do, almost like a shopping list just like mum and dads, the only problem is, the items on the child’s list takes top priority position according to them and so begins the chaos.
Our children need to be safe no matter where they are or what they doing, this also applies to shopping, keeping out of the way of those uncontrollable shopping trolleys and their drivers, and to be save from traffic on the roads.
Let your child know the rules before getting out of the car, and make sure you enforce them even if the tantrums begin, remind your child for his safety he must at all times remain by your side when going anywhere. In time this will become a natural habit.
All parents’ need to be sure our children know the difference between what is and what isn’t dangerous, as they learn from us, we need to put in the effort and help them understand differences.
Bear in mind, once you let your child stroll off, he will continue to do so.
Setting The Rules…
On the way to shopping or even at home after kinder are good times to lay down the ground rules. Tell your children exactly what you expect of them when out in public.
For example, say, “you must stay in reach of me to prevent you being injured or lost, even worse, taken by a stranger.”
Keep Refreshing Your Childs Memory…
For our children to be expected to know how to behave in public, we need to test their memories by often asking them if they remember what is required of them.
Put it to the test, tell your children when you are about to go out, lets see if we can all stay close together and if so, also praise, thank you for helping me keep you safe.
Tell your children they were all very good shoppers for staying close.
Teaching Them To Come When Called
During a neutral time, ask your child to come to you from near or far, and when this happens, give him a pleasing hug.
When this becomes second nature to your child it’s time to try it at the supermarket and if all goes well, cuddle your child and tell him how grown up he is for doing as he was asked.
We need to give children a responsible job to do while out. Get your children to help you with the groceries by putting the items in your trolley; keeping them occupied will deter the wandering away, and less you have to cope with.
Change The Rules To Suit Maturity…
As our children become accustomed to the rules and behave in the correct manner, we need to extend the leash, so to put it.
We should give them more room to move, for example, purposely forget an item, making note where you seen it and ask your child if he could go and get it, then come straight back, we may be just in the next aisle but we are out of sight.
Our child will realize he has earned our trust, and the reward for your child is more independence for following the rules.
Be Definite And Precise…
It’s best you don’t change the rules without telling your child. Be consistent and firm, the new rules will obviously cause some conflict, but at least you and your children will not feel insecure when you are both on new territory.
Solving The Problem…
Give your child fair warning of the consequences for not obeying the rules and stick to them. If your child won’t do as he is asked, Time Out while out shopping can be arranged on nearby public seating although you will have to sit as well for about ten minutes, with out talking to one another.
At the end of Time Out, ask your child if he is going to behave this time, you will find twice is enough to teach most children, but don’t be afraid to use it as often as needed.
Remember, your child is to remain seated the whole time in Time Out.
Remember Who’s Boss…
Its no good threatening to take him home, as this is possibly what he wants and of course he will do what it takes to make sure he gets it.
We can’t let our children dictate our agenda; children need to learn to fit in with the way we run life daily and to go along with what is expected.
Know Your Childs Shopping Limit…
Make a note of how long your child can behave while out in public, and keep it in mind for future reference.
As his tolerance must be considered, knowing his limits before going out for long periods will help all concerned in the long run.
Article contributed by Theresea Hughes, creator of
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