How to run errands with kids like a pro

Once you become a parent, easy errand runs become a thing of the past. Between packing (and unpacking) the car, keeping the entertainment flowing, and making sure you didn’t forget anything on your grocery list, you may find yourself spending more time and energy than you anticipated. Here are a few helpful tips that will keep you (and your family) on schedule. 

1. Get the timing right

Running errands right before nap time or feedings is a recipe for disaster. For the best experience, time your errands where your children are well fed or well rested. You’ll thank us later.

2. Make toilet time a priority

If you’ve got a newborn in the house, take care of diaper duty before stepping out the front door. If you’re in the middle of potty training, make sure your child goes to the bathroom (no matter how many times you have to tell them). Nothing adds a fun surprise to your afternoon quite like a crying toddler with no public restroom in sight. However, at the end of the day, remember that accidents happen. Shrug it off, you’ve got this! 

3. Pack wisely

Make sure your bag is packed properly (read: full of bribes). You’ll want to remember the essentials, like bottles and diapers for babies or snacks and toys for big kids (here’s a list of our favorite on-the-go snacks). Going to the store prepared will ease the stress if a total meltdown is on the horizon.

4. Bring a distraction

I get it. Taking trips to the post office or grocery store can get a bit boring for kids. You can keep them entertained by bringing interactive toys (like a sensory play book) or by playing fun games, like I Spy. For your newborn, make sure their pacifier is securely clipped so you don’t have to deal with store floor germs.

5. Be smart with your car

Use your car to your advantage! First, see if the store has a drive-through option. If not, check if you can order online first and then just pick up the goods. If you’re left with having to go into the store for a full-fledged shopping trip, park next to the cart return slots so you can seamlessly load up your child and wheel them into the store. 

6. Make comfort key

IG user @leila.allen

Toddler tired of walking? Allow them to take a break to sit. We got this great tip from Tinybeans user Leila A. who placed a 12-pack of cans at the end of the grocery cart which made a big enough seat for her two daughters. Brilliant! 

7. Keep them involved

Sorry newborns – we just want you to be sleeping through this. For big kids, you can keep them involved every step of the way during your shopping. Ask them how many bananas you’re purchasing, what color the mac & cheese box is, or if they can grab the receipt from the cashier. You can give them some sense of control in the car too by asking them to pick the next song.

8. Save something fun for the end

Nothing gets a toddler to behave quite like the promise of ice cream. Reward good behavior with a yummy snack or a trip to the park after a successful errand run. 

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