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5 Tips on how to stay sane while grocery shopping with a toddler

POSTED BY Rosemary ON Dec 15th, 2011

By: Rosemary Seguin CNP, NNCP



For many parents grocery shopping with their toddler can be frustrating to say the least. As a Mom of 2 little ones, I’ve picked up a thing or two on how to make shopping a more enjoyable experience.

Check out my top 5 tips on how to make it out of the grocery store tantrum free and with a completed grocery list.

1.   Be Organized!

Have your grocery list ready before you leave the house! If you know where things are in the grocery store try to categorize them by department or aisle. By doing this, you will be finished shopping way faster because you won’t have to think about what you need and you won’t have to backtrack to the produce department to get the lemons when you’re already in the meat department. A categorized list is a great asset!

2.   Bring a snack!

Even if your child just ate at home, pack a snack “just in case”. Something healthy and not messy that your child enjoys eating, like apple wedges, carrot sticks, raisins, nuts, crackers etc. and their sippy cup with some water or watered down juice – to cut the sugar content in half. Snacking while sitting in the grocery cart keeps them occupied while you continue shopping. Also, try not to buy the snack at the store. I’ve made this mistake a few times not realizing once you do it, they will want and expect you to buy them a snack every time!   


3.   Schedule wisely

In my experience, my kids will cry at the grocery store or any store when they are tired or hungry. So shop around their schedule. I find the best time is right after breakfast because they are well rested from the night before and bellies are full after a nice big breakfast. That gives me a couple of hours before lunch and afternoon naps. It’s also a great way to get them out of the house and tire them out before nap time!  

4.   Make the shopping cart seat comfortable

Those cart seats can be very cold and uncomfortable for your child and once they don’t like it, they will never want to be in that seat again! There are two options here. 1) you can buy a shopping cart seat cover. These are great and it’s what I use. They are made of cloth, they have lots of padding, and some come with a built in pillow for their backs. Some also come with toys attached to it to keep them busy and they also prevent the spreading of germs onto their hands because the cart is now covered. 2) Bring a nice big fluffy blanket to line the seat and back part with. Or if you forget and it’s winter you could always use your coat.

5.   Indulge in  the “customer in training” shopping carts or police/fire truck carts




The Garden Basket has these amazing “customer in training” shopping carts for kids as well as fire truck and police car shopping carts for your little ones to ride in while you get your shopping done! My 3 year old loves to push around his own shopping cart and helps me “check off” my list by putting items in his cart as well. It’s pure genius and works extremely well to keep them occupied while they have fun and learn all at the same time!  The cars are also a huge hit and seat two at a time, perfect if you have two little ones, and they come with seat belts inside them! I always suggest you buckle them in. You don’t want anyone trying to flee the car in mid motion!  

How do you handle grocery shopping with your kids? 

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