“Wait a minute” – you’re thinking. “Shopping and Toddlers should not be in the same sentence together?!” However the reality is that many of us have to take our toddlers shopping with us – whether it’s a trip round the supermarket, to buy kids shoes, or an emergency birthday present for your great aunt Hilda.
However shopping with a toddler does not have to be a nightmare. Your child does not have to be the one screaming in the biscuit aisle for more cookies. Here are a few simple tips on making shopping with a toddler easy, efficient and maybe even fun..!
1. Only take your toddler shopping with you when they are in a good mood – make sure they are well rested and not cranky. Don’t try and nip to the shops just before nap time and then be surprised that there is a melt down! With toddlers timing is often key. If you only need a couple of quick things, try to get them on your way to or from another activity to save a separate trip.
2. Distract your toddler with a toy or snack. Bring a small toy with you that they can play with in the stroller, or on the walk round. Consider combining the trip with snack time in the stroller. Little M will quite happily sit for 20 minutes chomping on an apple while I buy fruit and veggies.
3. Make shopping a game. Involve your toddler in the process by asking them to help you find certain things on your list. Make it into a fun hunting game. (You may want to try this on a day when you have some time to spare though, as it will likely make for a longer shopping trip!)
4. Allow them to choose one small item to buy. This perhaps works better for supermarket shopping where you have lots of small, healthy and cheap items available. You will want to give them a limit though. Perhaps they can choose one piece of fruit to buy for example. Little M and I have a routine when we go to our local supermarket where he can pick a ‘smoothie’ to buy. (One of those fruit/veg blends in a pouch!) He likes the process of choosing, putting it in the basket, then on the conveyor belt – and then slurping it down! With older children you can even involve them in paying for their item.
5. Minimise how much you need to take your toddler shopping! Okay, so shopping with a toddler can be easy. And a fun game. And a good experience for them… But for your own sanity you don’t want to be taking your toddler shopping ALL the time, for everything. Do what you can to minimise shopping with a toddler and this will make the times you go shopping together more of a novelty – and more enjoyable for all.
How to minimise shopping with a toddler? We do most of our food shopping online which is THE BEST shopping decision I have ever made. Depending on where you shop there are usually ways you can do it without paying much (or anything) for delivery. We just buy fresh produce from the local stores – plus a few other bits and pieces.
For any personal shopping – like clothes shopping, either find a time when someone can watch your toddler (or do it ONLINE!) That kind of trip is definitely asking a lot of your toddler’s patience! There are even sites like Shopping Channel Canada online where you can shop on the web, whilst also getting deals, coupons and cash back offers.
As for kids shoe shopping – I am all for Little M having properly fitted shoes, but shoe shopping is beyond his patience level. We do the Clarks Measure at Home to fit his shoes and have never looked back!
Do you have any other tips on shopping with a toddler? Do you shop online? Do you have any other ways to minimise those trips to the shops?
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.