Grocery shopping with a toddler may be just barely above scrubbing the toilet on a mom’s list of things to do but there is usually no way around it. There are ways to simplify the process and get through it without being banned from the store, it just requires a bit of planning.
Go shopping with a well fed toddler. Hungry moms cause problems in the grocery store but hungry toddlers are even worse. They are not content to quietly sit in the shopping cart when they are surrounded by so many things they want to eat. Make sure your toddler has a good meal before going to the grocery store. It may help to have a store of crackers in your diaper bag that you can feed to you toddler in the event that they decide that they are still hungry while you are shopping.
Keep your toddler comfortable. Diaper padding only goes so far. Those hard shopping cart seats can be irritating to some toddlers. Consider making or buying a shopping cart cover to keep your toddler comfortable while shopping. This will have the added benefit of preventing your toddler from being exposed to the myriad of germs that can be found on the shopping cart.
Go shopping after naptime. Tired toddlers are not patient and this can make for a very frustrating shopping experience. Be sure that you are not planning your grocery shopping during your toddler’s normal naptime. It is best to go after your toddler has had a nap and had a chance to wake up for a few minutes. You can use the time after they wake up from a nap to feed them a quick snack before you go to the store.
Make a grocery list. Grocery shopping can be simplified in a huge way just by planning your trip and having a list of what you need. Try sorting your list based on where each item is located in the grocery store so you don’t have to waste time going back and forth in the store with your toddler. Shopping with a grocery list will cut a lot of time and frustration out of your grocery shopping.
Give your toddler something to hold. Toddlers do not enjoy sitting still for long periods of time. Giving them something to do with their hands will keep them occupied far longer than simply sitting in the shopping cart. If you have a shopping list your toddler may enjoy holding a piece of paper just like mom has. Small toys that can attach to the shopping cart handle will entertain your toddler without getting lost in the store.
Make grocery shopping fun. Get your toddler excited about visiting the grocery store by adding a toy shopping cart to your pretend play area. Let your toddler fill the shopping cart with empty food boxes or toy food. This will help your toddler to understand what happens at the grocery store. When you visit the store you can continue your play by allowing your toddler to hold some of the food or help put a few items into the shopping cart.