You need to go to the grocery store, drop off dry cleaning, and you're heading to the school to get your third grader and your toddler is in the back seat screaming like a maniac. Sounds familiar? I know I'm not the only one who has a toddler who sometimes act like Jack Jack from the Incredibles.
You ask yourself what's wrong with me? What am I doing wrong? Why can't I run my errands without hell always breaking lose? Well guess what? It can be done with these 5 practical tips.
#1 Know your child's limits. If you've just picked your toddler up from day care or if they just woke up from a nap, they may be too tired or too wired to sit still and behave. If they're hungry you can bet they're going to have a meltdown too.
Before you run errands with your toddler, make sure they're in good shape to do so. If they haven't ate in a while, give them a snack before you run errands. For me personally my toddler does best when she's wide awake and fresh from a nap.
#2 Know your own limits. Sometimes our rational brain is working and we can manage a toddler like we're a superhero. Other times, all logic and reason goes out the window. Instead of being proactive and anticipating potential trouble, we react. If you're tired, hungry, stressed or otherwise not 100%, let the errands wait.
#3 Get them involved. It may sound strange, but you can actually ask your toddler to help you with the errands. For example, at the grocery store you can give them choices for the food you buy. If you're at the dry cleaner, ask them to carry a shirt and hand it to the clerk. If there is really nothing they can do to help, distract them with conversation. Point out interesting things in your surroundings. Engage your child in the process.
#4 Combine your errands with fun stuff. Take them to a park or a coffee shop with a play area. Take them to the library to choose books. Grab a cookie at Starbucks while you're in Target shopping. There are many fun things you can do when you're out together. No fun stuff to do while you're out? Then make them a deal and find something fun to do at home when you're done with your errands.
For example, while you guys are at the grocery store buy ingredients for cookies. When you get home you can bake and decorate them together.
#5 Learn their best time of day. Are you a morning person or a night person? What about your child? Find their best time of the day, and wherever possible run your errands when they're generally happy and well behaved. It'll make the errand running adventure so much more pleasurable.
Running errands with a toddler is a challenge. However, it's a challenge that can be managed with a little forethought and planning. Stay sane, plan ahead and you'll both be a lot happier.
What are some of your tips that you use when out running errands with your toddler?
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