Tips for Shopping with Toddlers

The fridge is empty, and it’s almost lunchtime with no one else in the house to watch for your kid. With little choice, it’s time for grocery shopping with your toddlers. From a child’s eye, a supermarket with colorful shelves is an exciting sight, your tot can be grabbing anything from the moment you both enter the shop, and now that can be a real headache. 

Anyone’s grocery trip can feel like an endless rough road trip with a toddler. But with enough planning and patience and these shopping tips, you can make everything from fresh produce to frozen meals with happy companions on board. 

Before Shopping

1. Plan your trip well

Considering the last-minute option of bringing your child to the store, it still pays off to have some time to plan and know what to do. Before leaving the house, ensure your toddler has enough to eat and take some of her favorite toys with you. It would be best to bring her while she’s in her best mood. Getting your kid to the store cranky will add more to her tantrums.

2. Make your grocery list

Before you even consider going shopping with your toddler, write down everything you need for shopping. Since you got a little distraction, it is easy to forget even the everyday items you buy from the grocery. 

The list also reduces the time spent wandering down the aisles. Remember that toddlers have mood swings at different times of the day. Make sure you are not in a hurry to grab a milk box before your little one starts crying.

3. Bring a change of clothes and wipes

You will never know what your child will be grabbing, and before you know it, wipes and even new clothes can go a long way. Remember, toddlers are messy creatures, and their faces will get messy, especially if they ask for snacks while shopping.

4. Prepare some small snacks

Everyone magically goes hungry every time they enter the store, even the little ones. Pack snack options. It’s always helpful to have snacks in case your child gets hungry. Stick to simple, dry snacks like cookies and crackers. Give her plenty of water to keep her hydrated.

5. Bring a small toy

If your child is not interested in scenery or people in a grocery store, bring a small toy to keep them entertained. Keeping your little one busy while scanning your grocery list might save the switching of mood. Choose your child’s favorite toy to keep her engaged and enjoy the shopping spree.

While Shopping


1. Build a rapport

Depending on your child’s age, it’s better to talk about the trip and what to expect. Establish some ground rules. There will be many people, long waiting lines, strange smell, and even loud noises. Your toddler should anticipate and, as the adult in charge of keeping the mood light, create a friendly atmosphere.

Remember that every tantrum is preceded by events that provide multiple avenues for intervention or prevention. You can stop the tantrum before it starts by simply making it feel that everything is okay.

2. Give your toddler a ride

A shopping cart is the easiest way to keep your sweetheart still (saving the hassle of pushing a stroller or a trolley full of groceries). Many supermarkets also have special rides for children in the shape of cars and fire trucks.  For younger ones, use a baby carrier and ensure it’s comfortable for both of you. This way can even extend your shopping time if your toddler sleeps off.

3. Give your kid a task

As long as your child feels like she’s your little helper and, ideally, wholeheartedly accepts that role, she’s less likely to throw tantrums. Keeping herself busy will give you valuable time to shop without feeling the need to keep your toddler well-attended. 

Kids love to participate, whether it’s pushing carts, chasing items off shelves, or holding something. This method is also a way to teach them how to shop. Also, you can let her walk for a while, as toddlers have just started learning to walk and dislike staying still for a long time. 

4. Engage your child

A tricky environment is a great place to discuss your child’s interests. For babies and toddlers, talk about what you do. Name objects, colors, letters, etc. Older toddlers can also name things and help find them. Have school-aged children calculate discounts or find out if one item is cheaper. At any age, a child’s engagement keeps her from getting bored and annoyed, leading to a quick burst out.

5. Don’t push it too hard

You have to remember that it is not always sunshine and rainbows. There are days that your little one may be overwhelmed with different emotions. It’s okay to leave if it is better to bail than continue with more damage in the future. Before or during a meltdown, leaving is not a failure for both you and your kid.

6. Reward good behavior

Pat your little one at the back for listening to you and following the rules you have established before shopping. Let your child know how excellent they did, and be specific such as: “You did great today, staying calm while waiting in line.”  

Also, a little reward won’t hurt, like giving candy or a scoop of ice cream for getting through. This suggests that shopping is a rewarding activity for doing something good. 



Navigating product-filled aisles with a busy boy or girl can be tough, but the more shopping experiences you give your toddler, the easier it will be. Take a deep breath and remember that no matter how frustrating and exhausting it is to take young children out in public, every ride is a great opportunity for you to exercise your patience and for your child to learn social skills.