Target is the money taker then Walmart is the tantrum maker. I do not have a clear reason for this phenomenon. I suspect it has something to do with 1) the terrible lighting in the place or 2) the fact that at any given time there are at least 5 kids screaming and it snowballs or perhaps it's 3) the fact that if you're buying groceries but then remember that you need diapers or deodorant it's at least a 1/2 mile jaunt to the other side of the store, and let's face it kids (and parents) don't have the stamina for that sort of thing or maybe 4) we all don't want to be there, but the prices are just that much better. It's easy to blame just the children for the fact that Walmart is usually a hellish experience, but let's face the facts here, adults there are just as bad. There is always some parent screaming at their child to judge. Although, I shouldn't judge because I remember one terrible moment, when I was that Walmart parent (another post for another day) although I wasn't wearing a tube top and inappropriate shorts (bought at Walmart, mind you), so I guess I'll keep judging.
And if you would like to avoid being that Walmart parent that I judge, I've come up with a list of ways TO KEEP CALM AND WALMART ON.
1. Sure you're going to Walmart, but don't look the part (if at all possible): If you look like you belong, you'll start acting like you belong. Try to avoid going there if you haven't yet showered or your child looks more like an orphan than usual. I'm more cranky on days I decide to phone it in.
2. Prior preparation prevents poor parenting: Have a list, snacks (try a healthy one first, but no child has ever died by eating an emergency dum dum), drinks for everyone, make sure you've all gone to the bathroom before you leave, set some clear rules for the trip like "no putting things in the cart" or "we aren't riding in the big part of the shopping cart today."
3. Remember that it's nice to have perfect kids, but it's more important to be nice to your imperfect kids: I've actually done this so you can call me crazy, but on the drive to Walmart I think of 3 things that I really love about each of my children. It puts me in a "happy mom" place.
4. Need one thing from a different section...get it first! Like I said earlier, there is nothing worse than noticing that you need something from the other end of a huge store right at the end of your shopping trip. So when making your list, anticipate this and then get it first.
5. Timeout can be anywhere. Alright, you've done numbers 1-4 on the list and there is still an incident. If you need to use it, put your child in timeout anywhere in the store. They can sit for one minute or two on an empty bottom shelf or on a designated tile. As long as you're calm about it, I won't judge you. (Usually just the threat of putting them in timeout at the store though, does the trick for my kids).
6. Bring yourself a treat. No joke, this works for me. I've put a small treat in my bag for myself at the end of a Walmart trip. I try to choose one that's not super indulgent so there's no guilt (like a Hershey Kiss, or a small Dove piece) and then I eat it after we're all buckled in and ready to leave. It's my pat on the back for making it through another long shopping day at Walmart and keeping it together.
Of course, you could do all these things on my list and things could still go horribly wrong, but if that's the case, the only advice I have for you is to GO TO TARGET (and spend all your money) INSTEAD.