You’re trying to pick up dinner at the grocery store or drop off your dry cleaning after daycare pickup and your toddler is screaming the entire time in the back seat.
Or you’re in a store and your toddler decides to run away or have a major temper tantrum on the floor with other shoppers looking on.
Why is this happening? Why now? Why can’t they just listen?
The solution lies with you. You can run errands with your toddler and stay sane with the tips below.
1. Know your child’s limits and what triggers bad behaviour.
If you’ve just picked up your toddler from daycare after a long day or if they’ve just woken up from a nap and haven’t eaten, they may just be too tired or hungry to sit still and go anywhere but home.
Hungry toddlers are not nice toddlers – it almost guarantees a meltdown.
Before running your errands make sure they have eaten and played a little to wake up. Try to avoid after daycare errands and save them for while you’re on your lunch break at work or on weekends.
2.) Know your own limits.
Just like your toddler, after work may not be the best time for you to run errands. You’ve had a busy day, you’re hungry and tired and aren’t at your best to manage your toddler. If you are stressed, tired or hungry your errands can wait.
3.) Get them involved before you go.
An easy way to get your children excited about helping you with errands is to get them involved ahead of time. For grocery shopping sit with toddler and the weekly flyers and go through them together to make your shopping list. You can cut out pictures of fruits and vegetables and have your toddler glue to a piece of paper.
For more grocery store tips see this post here.
You can ask them to help while running your errands too, ask them to hand over your dry cleaning to the cleaner or place items in the cart or on the checkout counter.
4.) Combine your errands with fun stuff.
Don’t go to store after store without “fun breaks”. Stop at a coffee shop and pick out a treat. Visit the mall’s play area or stop in at the library and pick out some new books.
If there really isn’t any fun breaks or you know the errand is going to be long have engaging conversation with them and point out interesting things.
You can also plan out what you will do together when you get home. Example: Bake cookies or read your new books
5.) Learn their best time of day.
When is your child at their best? Is it mid-morning after breakfast and some play time? Or have they burned lots of energy in the afternoon and are more calm early evening.
Pay attention and plan your errands around this golden time.
Conclusion: Running Errands with your toddler
Running errands with toddlers can be a challenge. But you have the power to manage the challenges if you plan and determine your child’s mood prior to going.
Keep in mind their stress level and yours and turn errands into fun bonding experiences rather than miserable outings with tantrums and tears.
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