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.
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?
Elizabeth Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys travelling, developing easy recipes, crafting, taking on diy projects, travelling and saving money!