Tips for Shopping with a Toddler

When your baby is really young, shopping can be a nice way to get out of the house while they nap in the car seat. However, when your child becomes a little older and mobile, that is not always the case.

Today I want to share some tips that I have learned for shopping with an older baby or toddler. I hope these tips will help make shopping a better experience for you and your child!

If at all possible, use a drive-through or delivery service.

Delivery and pick-up services are become more and more popular. I personally love Wal-Mart’s pick-up service because I just use the app to do my shopping on my own time and pull up to the store. They bring it out and put it in my car for me. I literally do not even have to get out of the vehicle – it’s awesome!

Delivery services like ordering off of Amazon or getting groceries delivered can also save a lot of stress. You don’t need to worry about getting your kiddo in and out of the car seat, you have time to think about your purchases at home, and you don’t have to worry about packing everything to ensure a successful shopping trip.

Benny really enjoys fly swatters, so we picked up two for him the last time we were at the grocery store. Don’t worry – they are not used on actual bugs.

Bring snacks and a bottle/sippy cup.

I have found that one of the easiest ways to prevent a meltdown is to make sure my little guy is never hungry or thirsty. I always bring a non-perishable snack and a sippy cup with me every time we go shopping, and that has always proven to be my biggest lifesaver.

Only bring the essentials into the store with you, not the whole diaper bag.

For quick trips, you will probably want to invest in a portable diaper changing mat that you can just grab and take into the store with you. If you don’t have one of these, you can also put a few diapers, a snack, wipes, a changing pad, and a sippy cup into your bag if you have a bigger bag. I often carry a large purse, so I do this frequently. I normally don’t need all of these items, but when I do, I’m always glad to have them!

Wear your kiddo.

If you are into baby-wearing, I would definitely recommend bringing along a baby carrier for longer shopping trips. I personally have a Lille Baby carrier that comes in handy when grocery shopping by myself, especially when my little guy is tired. A lot of times he just wants to be held, and at 30 pounds, that can really get tiring after awhile. The carrier allows me to hold him so he feels comforted while allowing my hands to remain free to shop and push the cart.

Talk to your little one.

Try to use your shopping experience as a time to bond with your little one. Talk to them about what they see and tell them about what you are doing. This will keep them more engaged and should hopefully make the experience more enjoyable for both of you. This will also help them learn new vocabulary, so it’s a win-win!

Don’t go too many places.

While your little one may seem super excited to be out in public, try not to push their limits. Toddlers can only handle so much stimulation. I try to limit our shopping endeavors to about two or three places. My husband and I have noticed that much more than that is just too much. Plus, when you go multiple places, that just means even more times getting in and out of the car seat, which can be such an annoyance.

Try to avoid interrupting nap time.

If you can, try to go shopping when your little one is awake and alert. Pushing them close to their nap time can lead to more meltdowns or a sleeping baby, which can also be difficult to shop with, especially when you are trying to have them sit upright in a cart.

Benny was not entirely thrilled to still be shopping at this point… Good thing we were heading home soon.

If you bring along toys, attach them to links and hook them onto the cart.

Public floors can be awfully dirty. To avoid having to pick up and sanitize toys anytime they are dropped, it is helpful if you are able to use links like these to prevent your child’s toys from falling on the floor. This way, if your little one drops their toy, it only falls to the end of the links and can easily be put back in the hands of your kiddo without needing to be sanitized.

If your little one uses a pacifier, you may also want to use a pacifier clip so it doesn’t fall either! (I’m hoping to share my crochet pattern for a pacifier clip with you soon!)

Frequently check that nothing is missing.

For some reason, toddlers really like to lose their shoes and socks in public… I have been on several outings with my little guy where a nice passerby has informed me that my child has removed his shoe. I have been told that this is just something little ones like to do, so keep an eye on the location of these articles of clothing. You may also want to keep an eye out for any stuffed animals/loveys, pacifiers, hats, bottles, or blankets. It is much easier to re-trace the last five minutes rather than the entire shopping trip to find a lost item, so just try to stay on your toes.

Try not to worry about other people’s opinions.

No matter how prepared you are for a shopping trip, there is always the possibility that your toddler may have a giant meltdown in the store. That happens – toddlers do things like that. Just because a passerby may not understand that your child is only screaming because they no longer want to hold the toy that they asked for two seconds ago does not mean that you are a bad parent. When you are out in public, there are always going to be people who are ready to judge you for whatever you are doing – just try to ignore it and move on. Honestly, the fact that you are taking time out of your ridiculously busy schedule to read a post about how to better prepare to shop with a toddler means you’re already killing it! Keep your head up high – you’re awesome!

I hope these tips help to make your shopping experience a little easier! Let me know in the comments if you have any additional tips!

Happy shopping!

~ Candace 🙂