Top Tips For Shopping with Infants and Toddlersby Elizabeth MacDonald
It may have been a hot minute since you've ran more than a quick errand with your little ones in tow. Many toddlers may even find themselves overwhelmed in large stores after a long year at home. Perhaps you've even kept your newborn away from others and you are just now venturing out together. No matter what your shopping has looked like in the past, hitting up stores with your youngest kids may be an anxiety attack waiting to happen now.
Top Tips For Shopping with Infants and Toddlers
- Use a Baby Carrier: ErgoBaby is a personal favorite, but there are several options out there. Make sure it is comfortable for you and baby/toddler. Also, make sure you are comfortable nursing in it, this will extend your shopping time and possibly provide an easy nap transition for your baby. (This will also keep people from touching your baby.)
- Talk to your young children about what the trip is going to be like/establish rules if possible: Depending on age(s) this is easier said than done. Will there be a lot of people? Long lines? Weird smells? Stay where Mama can see you, no running, no hiding, and voices need to be kept at an inside level.
- Eat First: Make sure that bellies are full. Any food smell will trigger hunger, or let’s face it – boredom will trigger hunger. So fill them (and yourself) up before leaving the house.
- Pack Snacks: Without fail, every time you walk into a store, everyone will magically be hungry. Pack more than one snack option.
- Use the Potty: Potty-learning toddlers have a very short span of time to get to a potty before they have an accident. Travel with a potty in your trunk.
- Go Slow – kid pace if possible: The easiest way to trigger a meltdown is to go faster than your tot can manage. Imagine being their size and seeing so many legs everywhere. It has to be overwhelming to be told to “hurry up” and not even understand where they are going. Slow your pace and let your little one explore a bit.
- Bring a change of clothes: Poop happens. Puke happens. Life happens. Just be prepared for it.
- Give young kids a job: Pushing carts, hunting an item off the shelves, holding something, kids love to be included. This is also a way to help them learn to shop.
- Limit your time: Do not overextend your timeline. Little kids (and babies) will become overstimulated, bored, or exhausted faster than you will. Don’t try to stop at more than one store. Keep your trip and time from home on a reasonable timeline.
- Be organized: Know what you need and where it is located. If you are just going on a leisurely shopping trip then try to plan it around any nap times. Nap times can work in your favor if you babywear.
- Charge Your Phone: You never know when you'll need to phone a friend!
- Do What You Need To Do: You will probably never see the other customers again in your life, so forget about them and love your baby in whatever way he needs. Do not lose your cool. Sit on the floor and just hold him if needed! You do you, mama.