Stay sane while shopping with toddlers
We all know that shopping with little kids in tow can be a hassle, but you can't always leave them with the babysitter. Follow these tips to make shopping with your toddlers and preschoolers a whole lot easier.
Keep your cool
If you are stressed-out or tense, your negativity will rub off on your kids. Keep a happy face while shopping or your kids won't be able to do the same.
Read about keeping your cool when kids act out >>
Don't expect your kids to get out of their routine just because you need to get the shopping done. Avoid shopping near naptimes and limit your total shopping experience to an hour. Even if you have to make another trip tomorrow, it's better than dealing with screaming toddlers for a few hours today.
Make it a game
Engage your kids with guessing games and other activities while shopping. Reward them with hugs, kisses and high-fives. This might also be an OK time to bribe them. Consider ice cream on the way home or a trip to the zoo on the weekend if everyone behaves while at the store.
Read these tips for shopping with kids >>
Shop off-peak hours
Whether you are headed to the mall or just around the corner to the grocery store, try to time your shopping during off-peak hours. All the buzz and excitement of the crowds during busy periods is sure to get your wee ones wound up and overstimulated.
Tend to their needs
No matter how important your errands and shopping seem to be, make sure all their needs are met -- food, drinks, diaper changes and entertainment. Remember that hungry kids are cranky kids (and the same thing goes for moms). Bring small toys and handheld games to keep them occupied in the car and the shopping cart.
Read about car activities for preschoolers >>
Write down your list before you leave home. Look online and in the newspaper for specials and coupons. If you are headed to the mall or a big-box store for a specific item, call ahead of time and make sure it's in stock.
Explain what's coming next
Many toddlers and preschoolers get frazzled and upset when they get out of their routine. As you embark on your shopping trip, prepare them by explaining what's coming up next. By giving them a heads-up of what's going to happen, your kids will be less likely to have a breakdown in the store.