How to Peacefully Do your Grocery with a Toddler

Today, I did grocery shopping with Risen.  I thought it would be impossible to go to a supermarket and tick off a long list of things to buy.  I was surprised to find out it could actually be a great time!  If you are having doubts or any problems doing errands with your 18 month old baby, check these tips I made for you.

Before leaving…

1.     Plan ahead.  Doing duties outside the house with your child must not be spontaneous
2.     Choose a time where your son or daughter does not have to sleep or have a meal.  Normally, when a child is hungry or sleepy, he becomes cranky. 
3.     Pick a short route and traffic free hour.
4.     Wear comfy and “safe” clothes.  This goes for you and your baby.  Be dressed in a kind of attire wherein leaning forward, carrying your son, picking up something on the floor or bending sideways won’t be a problem.
5.     Have a complete bag of essentials for your little one. 
     o   Milk and bottles
     o   Water
     o   Snack
     o   Wipes
     o   Towel
     o   Diaper
     o   Extra clothes
     o   Alcohol
6.     Instead of bringing your heavyweight mommy bag, carry a small sling bag. This will make sure you have the energy and space to carry your toddler if you have to.
7.     Prepare a grocery list and stick to it.
8.     Buckle-up (assuming your child has a car seat) and drive safe
9.     Park where there would be a good room to maneuver your cart (assuming you will end up with 3-4 bags in a cart).  Pick a "safe" area as well.

In the grocery…

1.     Choose a manageable cart.  Some carts are difficult to steer.
2.     When strolling along “safe aisles”, meaning nothing stacked will be broken, allow your child to walk around.  This would permit him to explore safely.  Note that putting your child inside the cart will create boredom.  
3.     Avoid allowing your toddler to open and munch on what you are buying.  Do not start a habit that you would want to break in the long run.  Make sure all snack items will not be unwrapped while you are doing the grocery.  Again, you do not want to equate grocery time = “I can open anything and eat what I want”
4.     When buying bottled items, keep your kiddo inside the cart.
5.     If your child is bored, the best temporary play area is the noodles or pasta section.
6.  Use this time as a learning activity.  Count, sing, read, teach colors and shape.  I have seen parents who allow their kids to use tabs.  This is sad.  Your kiddos (especially the pre-schoolers) can learn fraction, costing, food pyramid, and a lot of other things in the grocery!!
7.     When paying, check if you could use the lane for senior citizens and pregnant customers.  Malay mo, makalusot? ;)
8.  Do not rush.  Maybe a little Hide and Seek wouldn't hurt.   
9.  Carry your child while the cashier is scanning and placing your goods in bags.  I had an experience where I was not able to collect everything I paid for because I was so busy looking after Risen.  (I think the lady did not place some of the items I bought inside the grocery bag)

When going home…

1.     It would be wise not to go home right away.  Instead play a little.  Why? Since your child has been inside the cart most of the time, it would not be a good idea to buckle him right away in his car seat.
2.     Secure the grocery in your trunk first (it would be better if you can ask someone to assist you).  If you do not have help,  allow your child to stay in the cart as you do this.  Look around just to check if there are any malicious looking people.    That is why it is best to park near a guard, well lighted and busy area.  After checking, buckle-up your son.
3.     Watch out for the doors and keys.  You do not want to leave the keys inside a locked car with your little one inside.
4.     Hopefully, it would be milk time on your way home.  A bottle of milk is safe for a toddler to handle alone than biscuits or juice.
5.     Drive safe.

Promise, it would be fun.  Try it! :)

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