Anyone who has ever tried to grocery shop with a toddler knows how stressful of an experience it can be. For many parents, they have no choice but to stop at the store with their young ones in tow, and it doesn’t take long before the child is taking control of the trip. Within minutes, the whining, crying and begging for every treat and toy in the store will begin, and continue throughout the visit. Not only is it embarrassing for parents, but for other shoppers and store employees as well.
Smart parents are learning that stopping at the grocery store with a toddler should be executed like a covert military operation: go in with a plan, take control of the situation, meet your goal and exit quickly. Keep these tips in mind when grocery shopping with your toddler and the experience will be a lot easier:
1. Try and shop in the morning, when your child is more awake. As the day goes on, children tend to get grumpier, so take advantage of the morning shopping time, if you can.
2. Have your shopping list ready, and have everything written down based on the location of the food in your supermarket. The last thing you need is to keep running back between aisles, trying to find another item. Get organized before you leave the house.
3. Feed your child before going shopping; they won’t be eyeing the sweets as if they were starving to death.
4. But don’t forget to bring a small snack as well. In the ideal world, your toddler would be happy with a small piece of fruit, but just in case, bring a few pieces of cut-up fruit and a few crackers in a plastic bag.
5. Have a pocket wipes handy in case they are needed.
6. Encourage your child to help you shop and find the items on your list. Some parents have cut out pictures of the groceries they need from the store circular. They tape them in a small notebook, and give them to their child. Children are naturally curious, so often times they will scour the shelves, looking for the pictures of the groceries that are in their notebook.
7. Have your child hold coupons for you, and encourage them to look for the items on the shelves. (Note: you should only give them one or two coupons at a time; otherwise, they may drop everything on the floor.)
8. Look for “family friendly” grocery stores; the kind with fancy shopping carts that are shaped like trucks and cars. But be aware of what your child might be able to grab off of a shelf when they are that low to the floor.
9. Learn how to divert and redirect. If your child starts whining or crying, instead of trying to get them to stop, change the focus of the situation. Don’t get mad, but instead, ask them to help you find something they enjoy. For example, chocolate milk, a favorite snack, etc.
By John Riddle