How To Exit A Store Gracefully With A Screaming Toddler In Tow

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Toddlers are diva celebrities without the entourage or money. They will not be rushed, thank you very much. I remember the first time my child let me know he was on his own schedule and I should just step off. Up until that point, I seriously believed that all the tales of screaming toddlers not wanting to leave places were a bunch of urban legends. No way was that happening with my sweet little boy! Yeah. I was wrong. If parenting a toddler had a motto, it would be “Eff you. You’re not that great at this.”

Here are a series of steps you can try when attempting to exit a store with a screaming toddler, while keeping your dignity intact.

1. Attempt reason.

“We can’t stay in the store all day honey.”

2. Try the “stern voice.”

“We are leaving NOW because I SAID SO.”

3. Stare at him – think Jedi mind meld.

4. Try that counting down thing that totally doesn’t work.

“I’m counting to three…” at which point absolutely nothing will happen.

5. Threaten – but through clenched teeth and while smiling.

“You are really pissing mommy off right now!”

6. Attempt a bribe.

This may work, but it’s a slippery slope of your entrepreneurial kid demanding stuff every time you want him to do something.

7. Try to convince him that one of his friends always leaves the store when his mommy asks.

He probably won’t care.

8. Scan the store for Supernanny, or any parent who looks like they know what they’re doing.

No one is going to help you, but they might give you a wink or a smile that will give you the extra boost you need to push through.

9. Become very Zen-like in your acceptance that none of this is working.

This too, shall pass.

10. Pick up your screaming child, tuck him under your arm like a clutch purse, and ignore the looks of judgment while you exit the store.

Did I say “gracefully” in the headline? That was a typo.

(photo: Blaj Gabriel/ Shutterstock)