19 Month Old Daughter Refusing to Sit in Grocery Cart.

Updated on April 20, 2010
M.H. asks from Dallas, TX
23 answers

Hi fellow moms! I have a 19 month old daughter who has in the past few weeks refused to sit down in the grocery cart at the store. When I put her in she immediately stands up and screams hysterically until she is out. I have even force strapped her in to let her know who the boss is but she has also gotten out these times and stands up immediately and reaches for my neck. I have even tried to put her in the larger part of the cart but she also screams and tries to get out reaching for my neck. I don't know what to do. It has caused major scenes at the store that leave me feeling helpless and all i can do is carry her around (which she is getting heavy for me) and can only get one item. This is frustrating bc she used to never do this! Do I just not go to the store with her? Has any other moms experienced this? Is this just a phase (i pray)? Thanks for your input!

p.s. she has also started doing this in the stroller. ugh!

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So What Happened?

Thanks for your advice. As far as the grocery store I don't go with her anymore. Its not worth it to me. I go at night. With the stroller, She fights it and cries and when she won't sit down I hold her until she gives in and sits down. It takes a few minutes sometimes but she realized we aren't going anywhere then she sits down. It's still a daily struggle that i am hoping gets better with time. I just have a daughter who hates being strapped down!

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J.B.

answers from Atlanta on

Oh yeah -I have to physically hold my 18 month old down in the cart to keep him from coming out of it! I just push it while leaning over and letting him put his arms around me. I have to really watch it when I'm getting something! If I remember correctly from my first one, it's a phase that will soon pass.

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R.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

I am just like you I dont want her to cause a scene so I just started to leave her at home. She is mad most of the time when I do this but I just tell her why I am leaving her there and let her know she has to be good and she can go next time.

1 mom found this helpful

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J.T.

answers from Dallas on

you sit her back down, buckle her in again, and carry on. let her throw a fit and scream, when she stands up, you sit her back down and buckle her in again. just make sure you don't step away from the cart. expect that she's gonna act up and create a scene(have a drink waiting at home lol), and be consistent. i'm not a fan of finding a loophole around a discipline problem(leaving her at home, getting a harness and letting her walk, putting her in the big part is a HUGE no-no!), i like to teach my children that they are going to do as they are told, whether they like it or not, especially when it's a safety issue. what are you going to do when she decides she doesn't want to be in her carseat anymore? i can assure you, if she "wins" this one, that will come... good luck, dig in and be consistent!

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B.

answers from Augusta on

You could make a list of the things you need to get using pictures let her be in charge of it. Tell her that she will need to be in the cart so she can help you with the shopping. Hand her stuff ( not breakable) to put into the buggy.

If this dosen't help. either 1) continue to force her to sit in the buggy strapping her in. or 2) when she starts it tell her that because she's not sitting int he buggy like she's supposed to that you have to leave the store and can't pick up the things you need to, and do exactly what you say , walk out of the store leaving the buggy right where it is and go home.

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C.M.

answers from Austin on

It's a phase. A dangerous one. I'd leave her at home for a few months. It will not only stop her from hurting herself, but you might actually get a few minutes to yourself.

2 moms found this helpful
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J.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

What about putting her in one of the shopping carts that has the car attached to the front. My daughter loves these shopping carts, she loves to pretend she is steering the car and it keeps her occupied while I shop! These carts are a little bit of a pain to steer because they are so large, but worth it, I think! Oh, and have LOTS of snacks available.

Good luck!

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R.M.

answers from Dallas on

I have a 21 month old daughter who I usually either carry in an Ergo babycarrier (a life saver in many situations) or put her in a large part of the cart. I understand that from a developmental perspective it is not always reasonable to put a child that age in a small area and expect them to sit there for an extended period of time. I also tend to take her shopping when I know she is well rested and in a good mood -- and I bring along snacks. Generally shopping is a fun experience . . . I point out food, other children, we sing songs, and talk. So far, so good.

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B.H.

answers from Seattle on

My son is currently doing this. I have been consistent, and put him in and buckle.....he may yell, stand up or whatever. I ignore it and it stops, and if it does not I leave.....and explain to him why. He has gotten much better about it and its a small struggle. But once the inital power struggle is over he is fine in the cart.

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S.D.

answers from Topeka on

My 13 month old starting doing this a few months ago it is so scary because no matter how tight I tighten the belt she gets out of it also with her highcahir she loves to stand and see everything she likes the freedom to move but there's times that I literally caught her from falling i'm right there I can't leave the shopping cart so all my shopping is a slow process 1 hand on the cart at all times the other hand reaches for my items.I have become stearn with her she doens't fully understand but if it's not taught now it'll just get worse.I have no choice but to take my kids shopping with me last week though we didn't go and I refused to take them.That ended me at Walmart on Sat. at 10:00 pm
I take a toy with us but that doesn't help much she drops it and wants me to get everytime sippie cup same thing I feed them before we leave so a snack while shopping is what helps sometimes.It's a stage she'll soon outgrow it I keep telling myself.*Happy Parenting*

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L.C.

answers from Washington DC on

First - before you go to the store tell her what you are doing and what is expected. If she doesn't sit in the cart, you leave. You put her in the car and go home. Ditto for the stroller.
If she does behave, you need to praise her. A lot!

Personally, I left them home and shopped without the kids. It was faster, more pleasant, and it was a whole lot easier...

If we went to the mall or someplace that required a stroller, they were told before we left the house what was expected. If they didn't sit correctly, we went home. They didn't get to see the fountain, their friends, whatever...

I did get a harness so they could walk if the mall wasn't crowded. People thought I was awful to put my kid on a leash, but hey... they weren't chasing him.
YMMV
LBC

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D.N.

answers from Chicago on

My daughter also refuses to sit in th eshopping cart and it started right around the time she turned 18 months. And for me, the only option is shopping at midnight on Saturday or dealing with it. She prefers to sit sideways in the "seat" and that is what she does. When she refuses to sit in the stroller, I tell her "no bye bye" and I sit down if I can. That usually gets her to sit still. She is 2 so I don't have much time left with her sitting down when we go somewhere.

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B.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

Before you leave the car, explain to her that she WILL sit in the cart seat, and she will NOT walk. Bring her a snack, sit her in the cart, and be firm. She's not big enough to walk (contrary to what another poster said, I cringe when I see 1yr olds walking in stores). My boys both rode in the cart until around age 3, when they could walk along at a good pace, could listen and pay attention, and then could be treated like 'big boys'.

Just keep at it and don't give in, because once she finds your breaking point of letting her walk, she will fuss every time until you let her walk (something I see happening to my friends all the time). Snack or treat in the cart, let her know before leaving the car that she WILL sit in the cart.

My boys have always shopped with me since I'm a stay at home mom, and because of it they both have incredible manners, lots of patience, and are very good boys. They know how to act in public, and i don't agree with always leaving kids home, they need to learn how to act in public, and always leaving a child home teaches them nothing. Bring your kids with you... its good for them, and you!

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G.B.

answers from Tulsa on

Love and Logic classes would do you a world of good, they did for me.

Love and Logic would say that you tell her before you go into the store that she is expected to act...such a way. Sit in the seat...explain it in simple words. Then have a plan in effect where a friend is in the parking lot and will come and take her home so she has consequences that are logical. If she throws a temper tantrum in the store she has to leave, if she won't stay seated she has to leave the store. My grandkids just took one to two times leaving and they mind now.

I had a hard time telling my 6 yr. old granddaughter that I liked spending time with her because it was fun and when she threw a temper tantrum it wasn't fun for me so she couldn't be there to spoil it for me. I was afraid it would ruin her mind or something but she understood and stopped having the tantrums, mostly, but she still has to leave if she acts up. And the kicker is that I go ahead and do my shopping and she has to sit in the car with papa or go with a friend to their house and she isn't given opportunity to turn it into a treat by being there either.

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M.P.

answers from Provo on

I'm not sure about thr stroller, nut perhaps if you got a shopping cart seat cover. Let her pick it out, or perhaps make one if you know how to sew. There is a pattern out there for a couple different styles. That way it could be her special seat.
I know this is a time for major independence so perhaps she could walk on theside as long as she held on to the cart or your hand. this way she can help get cans ir what not on the lower shelves and be your big helper.

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D.E.

answers from Dallas on

i am so glad you posted this because I thought I was the only one with this problem! I hate the scenes at the store too. I blame it on my husband who allowed her to walk around and go where she wanted to with him following her while I was trying to shop. She is getting better now though, she is 22 months. The last two times she held my list and "helped" me by "telling" me what else was next. As long as I keep going and don't stop for very long she does ok. I wish I could do the "if you act up you have to leave" and have friend take her, but I know very few people in our town so that one won't work for us. I have also taken treats and books for her to help with the process. Good luck and thanks for posting! So glad I am not the only one with this problem!!

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A.A.

answers from Columbus on

Can you put her in a carrier? I have an Ergo and I can still hold my 17 month old in it. I think they will hold up to a two year old. If she's always reaching for your neck to be picked up this might be the perfect solution.

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L.H.

answers from Savannah on

Hey There -

Wow thats a tough one! I don't know what I'd do either! The only thing I can think of is to practice with her every single day, getting into a stroller and taking a walk, and (if possible?) do the same with a grocery cart.

Come to think of it - there are some stores that have the buckle seats attached to the shopping carts... hard to describe, I hope you know what I'm talking about. They're large, plastic seats attached to the cart near where you push... You could try one like that.

Maybe also get her a play grocery cart to push her baby dolls around the house in and play grocery shopping with her?

Hope some of this helped... best of luck to you!

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J.D.

answers from Dallas on

My daughter helps me push the cart. I stopped trying to put her in the cart when she tricked me into one of those carts with the car on it at the grocery store. She got in, I started to fill the cart, she decided I HAD to carry her through the store. Carrying and maneuvering one of those #[email protected] carts is no fun. We have been pushing together since she was around that age. She does like to ride in the ones at Target that she can get in and out of on her own. For me, it has not been a phase.

GL!

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C.N.

answers from Minneapolis on

Well it is always good to know it is not only your child that screams when getting in the cart! I insist on strapping her in- I am pregnant and am not going to push a cart while carrying a wiggling munchkin! What we do is find something to have her look at while we shop and just keep her occupied. Eating a cookie(our grocery store gives them to kids) keeps her extremely occupied. They are definately trying to assert themselves at this age which is a very good thing even though it is very trying!

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K.M.

answers from Boston on

Might you consider a back-pack style carrier? She might not be able to reach anything on the shelves either! No more "Did I really buy that" moments!

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S.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

For me, if there is not choice (no sitter) and my child has to be with me for grocery shopping, then the only alternative that I recommend is when she makes a fuss or cries, immediately take her out of the cart and put her in time-out right then and there. Yep, in the store. Find a corner somewhere. And i would do this 20x if it takes that much. No negotiating. No talking. Just pick her up, put her down somewhere. Make sure that you are staying a certain distance away from her and that she is not looking at you (her back is facing you). Otherwise, it's just like you're standing there with her and she'll just think it's fine. I make my son stand in TO for as long as I see fit. Then I'll ask him, are you ready to sit in the cart without crying? If the answer is no, then back to TO.

i did this with with my son months ago. Granted, it didn't take more than 3x in one day. But I only remember having to do it just one day. After that, never again. But also know that you should have a grocery list prepared in advance to help you get through the aisles faster. So far, my son can only sit in the cart for 25-30 mins (he's almost 2).

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I.G.

answers from Seattle on

Once my daughter started walking securely, she did no longer want to ride in the cart or stroller. Personally I was ok with it, I cringe when I see kindergartners still being strolled around...
I have taught her that she has two options, either walk nicely on my hand or be strapped in the cart against her will. When I had to shop on the run I have also used my ergo carrier, rather than having her in the cart - she still likes that one.
Yes, there have been scenes at the store, but you might as well get used to that, as soon as they are hitting two, ether are all kinds of public meltdowns.

To be honest on days where I just don't feel like dealing with the hassle of shopping with a child, I order my groceries online.
Good luck.

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M.K.

answers from Houston on

I know this is a cop out but we take our portable dvd player shopping, put her in the big part of the cart with a snack and pile the food around her while she watches and eats - if I'm quick I can shop the whole store in about 30 mins before she gets bored.

also the kroger by me has these new style car carts with a tv in them, you could see if anyone in the area has those, they are free to use.

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