How to Survive the Grocery Store with a Toddler

 How to Survive the Grocery Store with a Toddler with these great parenting tips and advice!

As a parent, you learn to dread those trips to the grocery store. First you have to bundle up the kids, make the drive to the store, and then find a way to get everything on your shopping list while keeping your children in line. A trip to the grocery store is especially hard if you have a toddler. If you need to bring your toddler with you to the grocery store, these tips will help you survive your trip!


Bring Some Entertainment

Keeping your toddler entertained in the grocery store will help you survive your trip! You know your toddler best, so you’ll want to pick something that will keep them occupied and engaged for the entire time you’ll be at the store. Some great ideas include bringing a favourite toy or stuffed animal, or even bringing along with family tablet for some learning games.

Don’t Forget Snacks

You probably give your toddler a snack or meal before heading to the grocery store, but don’t forget to pack a few snacks for the road, too. If your toddler starts to get hungry at the store, chances are you’ll be more concerned with feeding your child than making sure you get everything on your grocery list. By packing some snacks to bring with you, you’ll have something that you can pull out quickly to satisfy your toddler until you can get home.

Naptime First

Before heading to the grocery store, have your toddler take a nap first. A tired toddler tends to be a grumpy toddler, which can lead to an unsuccessful trip to the store. You know your toddler best, so it’s up to you how long the nap should be. Give your toddler a little bit of time to wake up after the nap, and then head to the grocery store!

Set Expectations Before You Leave

Toddlers will throw a tantrum over anything and the grocery store presents many opportunities.  So plan to head this off by having a quick friendly chat before you leave.  Let them know that they will be sitting in the cart and not running up and down the aisles.  Let them know that they do not get to make shopping choices until they have a job.  Just lay out any and all of your expectations in order to at least try to come to an understanding prior to arrival.

One Store at a Time

If you need to bring your toddler with you to the grocery store, don’t plan on a shopping marathon. Pick just one or two stores that you absolutely need to go to and then head home. The more grocery stores you try to fit in, the more likely it is that your toddler will have a meltdown or that something will go wrong.

Reward Good Behaviour

If your toddler does a great job in the grocery store, you’ll want to reward this good behaviour. By rewarding your toddler, you’re teaching them that positive behaviour has positive effects, which can lead to good behaviour for future grocery store trips! You will have to be cautious, however, with the rewards you use. Although there’s nothing wrong with buying your toddler something small every once in a while, if this is your go-to reward all the time, then your toddler will learn that they get something each time they go to the store. This can lead to some future tantrums and a sense of entitlement.  Instead, get creative with your rewards!  If your toddler is good in the grocery store, reward them by allowing them to pick the radio station or CD to listen to on the way home. You can even use a sticker chart to track grocery store behaviour, and then your toddler can earn a prize after 5 or 10 stickers.


 Although going to the grocery store with your toddler might not be fun for you, it is possible to survive your shopping trip! What are some tips you have for surviving the grocery store with toddlers around?


11 thoughts on “How to Survive the Grocery Store with a Toddler

  1. we followed One, Two, Three magic and that was how I raised my children. NO rewards for screaming in the stores like you see so often these days (rewarding bad behavior with a toy seems silly to me, but so many people follow this practice these days) We lived over an hr away from the city and I got to the count of three twice in my life…once we were half way to the city and I turned the car around and headed back home …I was disappointed and so were the kids as we only went in once a month)

  2. My granddaughter of 3 months does not like shopping, so many times we have to carry her just to calm her down, but these are all wonderful tips!!

  3. Great tips here. I loved the one store that had little shopping carts for children. Wish more had them. We alternate between letting our little one sit in the cart and walk with us.
    I would love for you to stop by and share this post on my weekly link up, Toddler Idea Tuesday.
    Have a good evening

  4. Yes with the nap tip! YES YES YES! A cranky baby makes shopping nearly impossible without losing your mind. Snacks are a great idea. Hungry kids and mamas mean you end up buying more!

  5. Lately it’s hit and miss with my girl. She’ll be fine in store most times, but sometimes I let her walk and help out. But most times, if time allows for it…I’ll have my older boy watch while I hit the stores. It’s almost like a break for me lol.

  6. My days of shopping with toddlers is long over. However, I think all your tips are valid and sensible.
    I used to give my husband a detailed list and that worked well for some time. If I did get to shop, I usually took only one or two of our five small children.(My daughter always shopped with four for years and they were really well behaved, most of the time).
    Once I arrived at the checkout and looked down to see my two younger girls quietly eating chocolate bar!. Of course, we added this to our bill, but I was more careful to keep an eye on them after that.

  7. It’s sometimes very difficult to go shopping with children. I remember one time when one of mine lay down on the shop floor having a tantrum (no real tears of course). A friend who was with me asked what now, talking did no good so I warned my girl that we were leaving even if she didn’t want to and my friend and I headed to a corner close by. Peeking around I saw my girl lift her head, stop screaming and start to get scared that we really had left. Of course we went and collected her and talked to her and although this was a shock treatment it worked, I never had a tantrum from her ever again.

  8. My niece is 15 months and it can be so tough to take her to the store with me! These are great tips but some days I think she just won’t cooperate!

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