If you’re a parent, chances are that you’ve experienced some stressful trips to the store. Today we’re diving into the tips and tricks to Grocery Shopping with a toddler (or two!)

Let’s make this stage of parenting a little easier.

As a mom of 4, I know how crazy things can get. Sometimes your child might wander off, other times they have a complete meltdown over not getting what they want. Or you might have a child who asks for things constantly. Here’s some parenting hacks from a mom who has “been there, done that….and is still doing that!”

How to stop tantrums at the store - If you've ever went shopping with toddlers, you know how major meltdowns can occur.  Here's some tips and tricks from a seasoned mom on how to stop tantrums fast.

How to Avoid a Meltdown at the Store

We are jumping into the hardest one right away. We’ve all been there.

Your kid sees a new stuffed animal and asks you to buy it. You say, “No, you have enough stuffed animals” and start to walk away.

Your child goes into full-on tantrum mode. A real foot stomping screaming tantrum.

Alright, let’s back up. How could we have prevented this meltdown?

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1) Bring a snack and drink with you for the car ride.

Wait, what?!?! Tantrums are directly correlated to your child’s overall well-being. Just like you might feel “hangry” when you are overly hungry, your child isn’t at their best when they are hungry or thirsty, so we can avoid that by bringing along a snack. I often pack fruit snacks or crackers for a little pick-me up when I am shopping with a toddler. Bring a drink of water along as well. Here’s my favorite water bottles for kids.

2) Try to Avoid Shopping During Nap Time

Similar to how your child may act out when they are hungry, if you child is tired, they may also be more prone to a meltdown. Try shopping when your child is at their best level of energy, like first thing in the morning or after a nap.

3) Start an Amazon Wish List

So, this one might sound counter-intuitive, but if you allow your child to keep a running list of things they like, they are okay with leaving those toys at the store. I know, because I use this tactic ALL THE TIME.

It also comes in handy because when it is their birthday or if Christmas is coming, all I have to do is share that wishlist with our extended family and our kids get amazing gifts that they truly love. (And I get the bonus gift of avoiding tantrums!)

You can set up a wishlist for your child here. Just go to Your Account and Make a List.

In order for this tactic to work, you need to make sure you do add these items to an actual list. If you say you will and you don’t, your child won’t be on board with this plan.

4) Take a Picture

If you have a super persistent child, offer to take a picture. You can take a picture of your child holding the item or just a closeup of the item so that you can find the correct one on Amazon. I wouldn’t recommend using this tactic every time as you could go crazy taking pictures of everything your child likes. (Been there, done that!)

What to Do if Your Child Wanders Off

My son went through a stage where he would wander off while I was distracted by another child. There’s nothing that makes a mama panic more than having a child disappear behind a clothing rack.

This can easily be solved by teaching your child to do something I call “Marco Polo.” Similar to the game, if my son wanders off, I call out, “Xander, say Mama!” and he responds “Mama!”

If you teach your child this skill, it saves you from a lot of stressful situations.

As with most situations, it’s a good idea to address what your child should do if they lose you. I tell my kids to stay still and call for me and I will come to them. They can also ask another mommy with children to help find me.

How to Deal with a Child who Asks for Things Constantly

If you’ve ever dealt with a child who incessantly asks for everything they see in a store, you know how irritating that can be. One way I’ve been able to “slow the ask” is to tell my kids that I can’t buy everything they ask for because frankly, it wouldn’t all fit in our house.

In addition, I need to save our money for important things like milk, electricity, vacations, etc. I always throw “milk” in that important things list because it helps my kids understand, as milk is super important to them and when we are out of milk, they really feel the loss.

Something that has surprisingly worked well is allowing my older kids to walk (not ride in the cart). They are often so busy trying to keep up that they don’t have time to whine. You do have to teach them to walk behind you though, which works some days better than others.

Another trick to “slow the ask” is to let them choose something like cereal or granola bars…something that was already on your list that they really like. If they are carrying that item around, surprisingly, they ask for less.

How to avoid meltdowns at the store - here's some mom hacks for stopping tantrums fast when you are Grocery Shopping with a Toddler (or two!)

A few Other Tips for Shopping with a Toddler

Include them in them in the shopping when possible. This is a great way to keep a toddler entertained while shopping! I ask my kids to grab items for me when they are down low.

I do teach them they are never to grab eggs or blueberries, because of the inevitable mess that would occur. It’s also important to teach your children about breakable objects and not touching everything at the store.

Be prepared. Come with a grocery list and make sure that your store run is an efficient one. Even the best kids will have trouble with a store run that is over an hour. Kids need a change of scenery and of course, time to recharge with a snack or drink.

Sometimes we play games as we shop. Sometimes we play “I Spy” and other times we make up silly stories like “that lobster over there is watching you. He wishes he could go to school like you.” Or “I wonder if there are any elephants in the store today?”

I hope this has inspired you with ways to make shopping with a toddler easier. If you have any tips you’d like to share, please drop them in the comments section below!

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