Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tricks for a Smooth Grocery Shopping Trip With Toddlers

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Sometimes we just don't have a choice. For many of us, that's most of the time. We have to take our little precious ones with us to the grocery store. Some days will be better than others, and lets face it, sometimes you need to know when to throw in the towel and just go back at night when the kids are in bed and daddy can be home to watch them while you shop. If you're new at this, or just want a few extra tricks up your sleeve to keep the kids happy, then this post is for you.

My little helpers

First things first. It's always best that your kids are rested, have been to the potty (or changed), and aren't starving. You check those three things off your list and you are already off to a great start. Their really is nothing more difficult than an exhausted, hungry child. Seriously, NOTHING will make them happy. So give yourself (and those kiddos), the best chance possible. These tips are in no particular order. So enjoy them, have a laugh, and remember that if your child freaks out, we've all been there!

#1: Bring Reinforcements (snacks & little toys)

Goldfish, cut up fruit, crackers, whatever they like to snack on. I like to pull these out when I'm a few minutes deep into my shopping. "Ohhhh LOOK what I haaaaave!" They will have their hands busy stuffing their faces that they won't be able to get into too much trouble for the moment. It should buy you a few minutes at least. If you can pull out a small toy as well, you just keep adding up your minutes of shopping in peace.

#2: Drinks (for them, not you..that might be later once they're in bed)

Juice boxes, milk, water in sippy cups, you will need something for them to wash down those snacks. This won't buy you much time, but may stop some whining in it's tracks.

#3 Choose Your Mode of Transportation Wisely

If you can snag a cart made for kids, it'll make your life easier. They'll be buckled in (as long as the buckles work properly) and not running around everywhere, and a lot of times they have those cute steering wheels that make riding in the cart fun for them. Push them fast, be a crazy driver at times swerving here to there, they will have more fun if you get into the trip too. I sometimes pretend to crash into people, but choose your victims carefully or you can really tick people off. But honestly, most people don't mind.

#4 Play Games With Key Items

A small pillowcase fits nicely in any mom-purse for a quick game of peek-a-boo. Vitamins make great maracas for music down the aisles. Anything to keep their hands busy and not pushing each other or trying to unbuckle themselves will help make shopping go more smoothly. Items in your cart that they can examine that won't break or break OPEN are great ways to buy time as you zoom from aisle to aisle getting what you need.

#5 Plan Wisely

Worst. idea. ever. is to shop without a plan with toddlers by your side. Know what you are getting, get items of high importance first, so if you need to make a quick exit you have a few things to get you by until next time.

#6 Create Little Helpers

For older toddlers, this one works great. Have them hold something that's not too heavy. Or give them things to load in your cart if they insist on walking with you inside of being pushed around. Give them the money to pay (if you're feeling brave). These type of things make your child feel important as well as keep them interested with what's going on (and getting into less trouble…at least that's the idea).

#7 Save Treats for the End

Free cookies are a great "good behavior" incentive, or whatever special sweet treats you allow your children. But they really are best kept for the end of your shopping experience. There's something about sugar seeping into the bloodstream at rapid speed once those cookies hit their lips and your child turning from hyper to nuts-so just as fast. You are on your own at that point.

#8 Remember to Enjoy Yourself

Snap a picture. Take a moment from shopping and stop and kiss them. This too shall pass. These years go by all too quickly and soon you'll be grocery shopping alone again. I'm sure the thought right now sounds pretty fantastic, but what you might not realize is that you WILL miss this someday. 

Happy Shopping!

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