Guide to a Successful Shopping Trip with a Toddler

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As a mother of two small (ages 1 and 2 ½) girls, I hope this brief (I will probably need to go remove one of them from on top of the table or take away a permanent marker one has somehow managed to uncover in about 5 minutes) guide will help to make your next shopping trip slightly smoother.

Shopping with a toddler

Shopping with a toddler

Create a Grocery List at Home

Do not, I repeat, do not go to the grocery store without a list or at the very least a mental list of things you need.  Being prepared helps to make the trip as efficient as possible.  This is what you want- efficiency.  

You want to get in there, get what you need, and get out as quickly as possible.  Of course there are times, far and few between for me, when your kids will be perfect angels in the store and you will be able to take your time, read labels, check out the seafood selection.  But in most cases, there is hair pulling, the classic “I want it!”s, standing up in the cart or even tantrums.

Keep Your Toddler Informed

Just like us, they like to know where they are going and what they are doing.  Keeping a toddler informed about your day’s plans, I have found to be a a great way to keep your little one involved.  Tell them you are going to the grocery store, give them a few items on your list to remember and when you are at the store ask them to repeat what is needed- they especially love it when you make a big deal about them remembering (“Oh my goodness!!! I’m so glad you remembered that, I would have totally forgot if it wasn’t for your help!”)

You can also keep them involved by letting them hold some of your coupons.  You can use the pictures on the coupons as sort of an in-store scavenger hunt- fun for the kids and fun for mom!  You can find loads of local, printable coupons on Grocery Coupon Network.  Check back often as we add more daily.  You can even subscribe to our daily newsletter which is packed full of local deals you don’t want to miss.

Rewards for Good Behavior

There are plenty of different options here.  My go-to is letting my toddler get a cookie from the “cookie lady”.  Our home grocery store- Publix- gives a free cookie to every child that asks at the bakery counter.  My 2 year old is (usually) guaranteed to behave during the entire shopping trip, when there are visions of a sprinkle cookie at the end of the road.  If you don’t have a “cookie lady” at your store or are terrified of giving your toddler sugar (I don’t blame you)- there are other options; you can use a kid-friendly, fun cart, take them to the park on the way home, let them watch their favorite show, get a sticker at the register, the options are endless.

I hope this article helped to ease your shopping trip, even if just a little bit.  You can find other ways to make your shopping trip more enjoyable on your wallet at Grocery Coupon Network.

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