Many moms of young children, whether they have two toddlers close in age, or a set of twins or triplets often feel like a drill sergeant–or risk facing an out of control situation with their children. Taking them shopping is no exception.
What's a mother to do then? Not to worry! With a bit of planning, foresight, and a bag of tricks, shopping with toddlers can actually be a pleasant experience. Here's how:
1. Shop early in the morning and limit your shopping trip to one or two stores and a maximum of two hours in order to avoid sensory overload. There are fewer people out shopping and more importantly, your toddlers are usually well rested and in better spirits after a good night's sleep than they are at the end of the day.
2. Never shop during nap time (sleep is always a priority!), no matter how desperately you want to get out of the house. Tired toddlers are cranky toddlers and prone to melt downs. Most toddlers and kids today don't get enough sleep as it is and sleeping on the go just doesn't cut it.
3. Pack water or juice and healthy snacks like raisins, organic cereal bars, bananas, peanut butter sandwiches on whole grain cinnamon bread, cheese, whole grain cheese crackers, cut up fruit in a tupperware container (don't forget a fork), and Cheerios. Other essential items include blankies, pacifiers, antibacterial wipes, and shopping cart covers if you use them. Don't forget to bring a bottle of water and an apple, Power Bar, or handful of nuts for yourself as well.
4. Make a list and stick to it. That way you aren't wandering around wondering why you are at the store in the first place! With two or more kids in tow, your mind is going to be on other things.
5. Involve your children in the shopping process–pushing the cart, picking out items, making lists with pen and paper. Your toddlers are like sponges absorbing everything you do, so avoid buying junk food, soda, and candy when they're around.
6. Try to keep them in the cart any way possible--a goody bag, books, or anything else that works. If all else fails and they are screaming at the top of their lungs to get out sometimes a backpack with "lead" will help you to keep track of them until you can make a quick exit.
7. After shopping, reward your kids for being good perhaps a playground where your kids can let loose, or a local café or deli for lunch or a special dessert. Older toddlers will especially enjoy the opportunity to feel like a big girl or boy.
Related article: Holiday Shopping with Kids: Safety Tips
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