Keeping Your Little One Busy While Shopping

Guest post by Angela Worley

Getting a toddler to sit still for two minutes is a challenge. Getting them to sit still while grocery shopping is impossible for most. The toddler phase is a very active age and so fun to watch and be around when it comes to playtime. “Play all day” is the name of the game when it comes to your two or three-year-old, and interruption on their playtime is a huge inconvenience. If that interruption happens to be during a trip to the grocery store, find a way to still make it playful and enjoyable for them.


Choose a game 

Toddlers tend to get antsy when they are not preoccupied. Play a game asking them to find certain items on your grocery list. While you have them strapped to their shopping cart cover, ask them to play hide and seek, with the grocery items being the things that are hiding. When you have found an item, do a little cheer, happy dance, high five, or anything that will get your little one to feel accomplished and amped up to find the next item on the list. 


Bring their favorite toy

Sometimes your little one just needs their favorite toy to tag along. As a sanitary and precautionary measure, the best toys to bring are those that you know won’t get chewed on. Wooden toys for babies and toddlers are not the chewing toy of choice (for most) because of their hard surface, while also being easy to wipe down with a disinfectant wipe or spray. As most are using masks to go grocery shopping these days, avoid bringing teethers or chew toys as they will make it hard for your toddler to keep their mask on if they are wearing one. 


Give them a prize

If you grocery shop often, giving them a prize may be a bit of an inconvenience for you and could become costly. However, if you’re shopping with your little one sparingly, letting them know that there’s a prize involved at the end of the trip for being well behaved can entice them to behave better. It doesn’t have to be a big prize. If you allow your toddler to have sweets, visit the candy aisle at the end of your trip and let them know they can choose one treat. If you prefer your little one has a healthier prize, try fruit snacks, a juice box made with organic juice, a granola bar, crackers, or anything small that can be found at the checkout stand. For something they can enjoy all week, take a trip to the bakery and let them pick out a small cupcake or cookie to cut into pieces and enjoy gradually for the next few days.

If snacks don’t get them excited, small toys or coloring books that are budget-friendly can be found randomly throughout the grocery store. Keep in mind this should be done toward the end of your trip. If you start too soon, like any kid, they’ll get impatient to eat or play with whatever you let them pick out, which can lead to a meltdown if they can’t have it right away. 


The key is to make grocery shopping as short as possible so that your little one doesn’t get burnt out by a long game or gets impatient waiting for their prize. Having a grocery list made beforehand definitely helps, as well as being familiar with where things are at the store.


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