How to have a tantrum-free shopping trip for the price of a cup of coffee.

Sometimes I need a five dollar coffee drink to get through the day.

Sometimes I need a fifty dollar pedicure to get through the week.

And sometimes I need a ten thousand dollar Mediterranean Cruise if I am going to resist the urge to flee alone to the mountains and live off the land. Alone. By myself.

(I never do get that last one.)

Toddlers are people, too.

You know how summer days seemed so loooong when you were a kid but now they zoom by before you can get everything done? Even if ‘everything’ is just pack a bag and go to the park and come home and make a relatively healthy dinner?

Time is funny like that.

I imagine that a forty-five minute trip to Target must feel to a toddler like waiting at the DMV for an entire afternoon feels to me. Like hellacious hell.

Enter the Patient Prize.

I have mentioned the Patient Prize before. I didn’t invent the concept but I have WHOLLY embraced it. I have been looking to rebrand Bribery for quite some time now.

Whenever I bring Babystar into a potential meltdown situation — usually a trip to Target but not always — she is allowed one Patient Prize. (Babystar named it her Patient Prize, which is more accurate than Patient Present tbh because really we are all winners.)

 

How to Patient Prize:

  1. Let the Toddlermonster pick the Patient Prize first. At Target, I suggest you stop in the Dollar Aisles conveniently located near the entrance. This will save you money by avoiding the toy aisles while still preserving the illusion of choice.*
  2. Let the Toddlermonster HOLD the toy/hat/apple/whatever in the shopping cart. It then becomes a tangible reminder of the toddlermonster’s choice EVERY SINGLE SECOND whether he or she wants to keep the Patient Prize or act a fool.
  3. When the Toddlermonster inevitably wants to get out of the cart to run away, or screams because he or she is bored and wants to leave RIGHT NOW, you look them in the eyes and say, ‘Ok. But first we have to go put back the Patient Prize.’
  4. Usually, the Toddlermonster will chill. Not always, but most of the time. If the Toddlermonster does not chill, you have to put the Patient Prize back and deal with the outcome. You may decide to leave the establishment. You may decide to rush through the checkout line with what you already have. And you may decide to finish shopping while holding a loud floppy Toddlermonster (peace be with you). You do you.

 

AND YOU GUYS THERE IS AN UNINTENTIONAL BENEFIT! Since Babystar knows she gets to choose ONE thing, she doesn’t ask for EVERY thing. I hope it works out that way for you, too!

 

 

 

  • Stickers .30, $1, $1
  • Bouncy ball $2.99, $2.88, $2.99
  • Troll bandaids $1, $1
  • Light up bunny thingy $1
  • Trolls $4.99, $4.99, $4.99, $0.89, $0.89, $2.99, $2.99, $14.99, $4.99, $2.99, $2.99
  • Plastic dinosaur with googly pop-out eyes $1
  • Felt ice cream cones $3
  • Weird juice box lady $2.99
  • Bubbles $1, $1
  • Gardening toys $3
  • Wooden birdhouse to paint $3 (plus one for Princess Buttercup too $3)
  • Coloring books $1, $1, $1

 

RAISING BABYSTAR: $28,868.20

*Unfortunately, Babystar knows that the Trolls are in the toy aisles, so she often insists we go there. Fine. Whatever. I have since made a new rule that she cannot get duplicate Trolls and she has them all so we always ‘just go check’ if there are new ones. Her dad doesn’t have the same deal so she still brings home Trolls quite often.

6 thoughts on “How to have a tantrum-free shopping trip for the price of a cup of coffee.

  1. Definitely going to try this with my toddler when she’s a bit older (currently 20 months). My grocery shopping system, which is basically just letting her hold things from the cart and hoping she doesn’t eat them, is working right now but justttt barely. The purchase of random grocery store toys is starting to increase and last week I bought a bottle of ketchup just because she wanted to hold it. Patient Prize, here I come! (Unless she picks the ketchup as her Patient Prize?? Hmm…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely! At the grocery store, so far anyway, we have managed to avoid toys and her Patient Prize is crackers or something. Which I was going to buy anyway but that’s none of her business.

      Like

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