I know I’m not the first parent to admit this, but I used to despise running errands with my child. The fact that he wants a toy every time we go to the store doesn’t bother me. It’s always been the least of my worries.
It was actually the newborn/baby stage that I dreaded taking my child with me on errand runs. Part of it was the fear of judgment if my child was crying. The other part was the lack of boundaries people have. I get the whole “it takes a village to raise a child” conversation, but do strangers need to touch my child because he’s beautiful or has amazing hair? I think not.
Obviously, the crying part was something I could handle if the location had a nursing room, which that is lacking in many places. Nonetheless, that is why I used to hate bringing my child to the store with me or out and about.
COVID changed a few of those things like people not overstepping boundaries (even if they can’t cover their mouth still). So, those are my very few reasons as to why I loved leaving my tot with his dad or my parents as I ran errands.
We’re in that four-stage now, so things are a little different. I take him everywhere and he wants to go everywhere with me. And, he knows that the store has toys so there is no way that he is staying home.
Bring the iPad/Tablet
I get it — you might not do the iPad/tablet/screentime, but it’s helpful. During the toddler days when I could avoid toy aisles, my kid would watch Disney Plus or Nick Jr. on his tablet. Not only did we have the tv shows, but there’s a cool Elmo app that let’s Elmo facetime your child and that saved us a lot. What is a quick trip with screentime going to hurt? There are educational options like ABC Mouse. And, you can adjust the brightness of the screen, plus remove it when it’s time to end screentime.
Let Them Help
If there is one thing that my son likes to do, it’s help out his mommy. He’s the perfect gentleman even though he loves to fart and announce it for everyone to hear. My little guy loves to hop out the cart and help me get his snacks and juice. I let him because he’s eager to be a part of the activity and it isn’t hurting anyone. There might be moments when it slows down the process, but I’m never in a rush when I’m shopping.
Discuss a Plan
A game plan is important. If I go into the store without a plan, my kid will keep us in the toy aisle forever as he analyzes toys. Whenever we pull into the parking lot, I take a few minutes to let him know the plan. He understands that mommy is going to get groceries or necessities that she needs and then he has 10 to 15 minutes to look at a toy. We discuss toy sizes, as well, because Jurassic World loves to make giant dinosaurs that I have to shoo him away from. Our plans always work, though. He understands and goes along with my plans as soon as I announce them.
Make it Fun
Always make it fun because errands are not fun. From the car ride where we play I Spy, talk about the color of the leaves, or try to spot farm animals, I try to make the errand trip fun. It’s one thing to have a happy or neutral kid with you as you shop, but a grumpy kid… we have to shake that out in the car before we get out. My son has his own playlist that I let him listen to when we’re in the car, because why not? I’m concious of the fact that he is going along with things that I want to do, so I need to make it fun and enjoyable for him.
Having a kid is a lot of things, but my favorite thing is that it’s eye-opening. It’s made me more mindful of other people and life.
As a parent, you get all these warm feelings about your kid and how much joy they bring you. It can be exhausting and an adventure, but you have to figure out what works the best for your family. I have been managing shopping trips for almost four years now and I will say they get better. The tantrums and the moods will happen and that’s life. You can’t expect a child to be perfect and you shouldn’t expect a child to be perfect. They’re learning every day and literally haven’t been around for that long.
Make the errands fun or find ways to avoid the errands with grocery delivery and pick-up. Or try Amazon-ing everything that will make your trip quick. I’ve started just ordering things, more so because I don’t want to run the errands aka there’s some laziness there.
Nonetheless, enjoy your errands with you kids. Teach them things along the way and let them be a part of your life that you want them involved in.