Your questions answered

Question: My toddler has just started to have major temper tantrums (whenever we go shopping) how can I help her through this stage and could active play help?

Doctor Woolfson's Answer:

Those embarrassing toddler tantrums, in full public view in the supermarket, are draining for any parent. Your toddler screams, she won’t cooperate, and all the time the other shoppers stare at you. Don’t worry – we have all been there! My advice to you is that if you do have to take your toddler on these outings, carry some small toys with you so that she can keep herself amused as you fill the trolley. Tell her gently but firmly before you leave home that you want her to behave, and if she does make a scene in the shop, don’t give in to her demands or you’ll discover that her tantrums become even more frequent.

Your question about active play is very interesting. Although it won’t stop temper tantrums at this age – because your toddler has an amazing amount of physical energy – she is likely to be less energetic during a shopping trip if she has had the chance to run about actively beforehand. Energetic play also helps release her frustration and tension, and so she may indeed be more amenable in the supermarket. It’s certainly worth a try. Be careful, though, not to tire your toddler out too much before the shopping expedition, as that could make her irritable when you get there.