Grocery Shopping with Your Toddler

Going on a trip to the grocery store?  It can be really challenging to take your toddler with you, and while it’s tempting to leave him at home ~ remember that he can learn a lot from the outing.   Try these suggestions for better grocery trips:

  • Give lots of advance notice and preparation. Before you leave talk about where you’re going and what you will be doing, who you might see, etc.   Tell your Toddler how you expect him to behave ~ for instance “Stay with Mommy”.
  • Choose the best time to go. Fewer shoppers mean easier and quicker trips.  Best time to shop?  Before 11 am.  Worst time?  Weekday afternoons and early evenings.
  • Make a list. It’ll help you shop more quickly and efficiently.   Try making the list in the order you pass them in the store ~ if you start at the dairy section, list milk first.
  • A hungry Toddler is not a happy shopper…and he will demonstrate his unhappiness loudly and often!  Make the trip easier on everyone by feeding him before going to the grocery store.
  • If  your Toddler prefers to walk and will stay with you, let him. Be sure to remind him that walking will only be allowed if he stays close to you and listens.
  • Bring a snack. Being around all that food is going to make both of you hungry!   Have a small bag of crackers or fruit handy.
  • Seize the teachable moments. Talk to your toddler about what he sees, hears, smells and feels.  “Look at all the apples!  You like apples, don’t you?”  Let him touch and smell the products you are buying.
  • Encourage your Toddler to help. “We need 2 loaves of bread.  Can you get those for me?”  or ” I’ll hold the bag and you put the oranges inside”.   At the till, let your Toddler help you unload the cart and put items on the counter.
  • Ask if there are any special promotions for children. Some grocery stores have treats, or small items for children.
  • Your Toddler may need a favourite stuffed animal or toy. Bringing along things to make your Toddler comfortable is an essential part to successful outings.
  • Keep your Toddler’s routine as consistent as possible. Be careful of the time you go and remember that Toddlers need their meals, snacks and naps.   If you think the outing will be too much for your Toddler, go another time, or ~ if you really have to go ~ leave him at home with someone you trust.

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