Sometimes, running errands with a toddler can be a stressful experience – for both you and your child. Try these tips for running errands with your toddler, which help things run smoother for everyone.
Start with a positive mindset
Toddlers learn by example, so treat your errands accordingly. While getting ready, talk about the interesting things your toddler will see or experience. For example, if your child likes buses and trucks, you can say, “We’re going to ride in a bus today!” or “We can count all the trucks we see on the way to the store.”
Try to maintain this positive attitude as much as possible throughout your errand too. Set behavior expectations and boundaries, but remember to let your child know when they’ve done something well, such as holding your hand while walking through the mall.
Time your errands for success
You know your toddler better than anyone, so try to time your errands for when they’re rested and fed. It may also be a good idea to run your errands in off-peak hours, when places are likely to be quieter overall. This can reduce the chances of overwhelm. In any case, take breaks whenever you can.
Help your toddler cope with the experience
We’ve all been frustrated by long wait times or complicated journeys, but toddlers experience this frustration most of all. To help your toddler have a better experience running errands with you, bring along things they’ll enjoy such as books or their favorite portable snack. You can also play quiet games together such as I-Spy, or give your child a task such as helping you pick out the best apples at the grocery store.
Set rules and boundaries early on
Before you leave, have a discussion with your toddler about what you expect. For example, remind them that in public we talk in our indoor voice and we walk calmly. Toddlers don’t always have good public manners all the time, but remain patient and let them know what to expect, and your child will soon get the hang of it.