When you’ve got a toddler in tow, shopping can feel like a daunting challenge. Toddlers are easily distracted, stubborn, strong-willed, and very good at getting their own way. This can mean big trouble when you’re surrounded by potential treats and strangers in a large mall or store. Don’t stress – there are plenty of ways to take the edge off the weekly shopping trip with your toddler. Believe it or not, it can even be fun.
- Pre-empt the toughest trips by using the web. There are certain shopping trips that are much more difficult than others. For example, if long queues are potentially going to stand between you and your destination, it gives your little one plenty of time to get restless and difficult. Find a pharmacy online to cover as many of your toiletries, medications, cosmetics, and household basics as possible, and save the big trip for the items you can’t get on the web.
- Plan your trip wisely. The right timing can make all of the difference when it comes to shopping with a small child. For example, a tired kid is going to be far trickier to manage than one that’s well rested. Make sure you organise your trip for the time of day when your toddler has already napped, is well fed, and won’t be expecting to go to bed or eat a meal anytime soon.
- Make a list. Because toddlers can be distracting, it’s important to bring a clear shopping list with you so that you make sure you get everything you need for the week. Make a list beforehand and tick off the items as you move around the store. This will make it easier to get in and out quickly, and will ensure that you don’t miss anything important.
- Get them involved. Toddlers are happiest when they can be part of the fun; so make the shopping trip into a game that they’ll enjoy. Give them their own mini list with a crayon, allow them to pick out certain items themselves (for example, their favourite yoghurt over another option), and let them ride in the trolley so that they feel like they’re having an adventure.
- Bring distractions. If the tension starts to rise, make sure you have distractions ready and waiting to save the day. This might be a snack that you know your toddler enjoys, or a toy they’re always happy to play with. Keep your all-important distraction item in your bag until it’s really needed, and pull it out if the tears start to flow.
- Skip the danger aisles. We all know that there are certain areas of the supermarket to be avoided at all costs when a toddler is involved. Skip the tantrum altogether by staying well away from the toy section and the sweets section – it’ll save you a lot of trouble, and hopefully some cash, too.
- Don’t panic. If all else fails and your toddler does start to throw a tantrum in the store, try to ignore everyone around you and focus on calming him down. Don’t allow yourself to get worked up into a panic because you know there are people around. Stay focused, try a new distraction, and carry on.