How to Shop with a Toddler

Going grocery shopping with a toddler can be easy, difficult or VERY difficult. A lot will depend on the steps you take to prepare and make the trip easier. Various strategies can ease this process.  

Be prepared

The first step is to make sure you are well-prepared. Consider the timing of your trip. If you can help it, do not take an overtired, hungry toddler shopping unless you truly want a meltdown. Choose a time when your child is generally in a good mood and not exhausted. You might also choose a time when the store is less busy so that you will not have to wait as long on line in the store departments and checkout counters.

Prepare your child before you go. Make sure your child has gone to the bathroom or has a clean diaper. Bring things that you may need in a diaper bag.

Bring distractions

Sitting in a shopping cart is not very exciting for many toddlers, but you can bring your own distractions. Some parents bring food for the toddler to munch on while in the shopping cart. It could be something simple and easy like dry cereal, which he or she can slowly eat on the entire trip. If the grocery store gives away cookies, then you can get him or her that or promise that he or she will get the treat only if the behavior is good.

There are many other distractions you can bring. Depending on the age of the child, you can bring a handheld gaming system made for children. You can bring rattles and other toys. You can even consider bringing a small DVD player. They specifically make some for children that are more rugged.

Make a plan

You probably want to get in and out of the grocery store with your toddler as quickly as possible. To that end, make a plan. Make a list of all of the items that you need and group them together by their locations in the store. Plan your exact shopping trip. Go from one thing to the next while you are there and avoid impulse buying.

No matter what, it is important to give yourself enough time when grocery shopping with a toddler. Your toddler may need a bathroom break or distract you. If you are rushing it will just make both of you more stressed.

Shopping with a toddler can be difficult, but the right steps will make it far easier. Try the above strategies to see what works best with your toddler.