Sunday, December 11, 2011

surviving the grocery store.....with a toddler

There are some things we have to do. Some things aren't fun. They are boring and you'd rather be doing something else. If I feel like that at times, imagine how an energetic and adventurous toddler feels.

I actually don't mind the grocery store, if it's just me. It's sort of therapeutic in a way. My toddler doesn't feel the same way. He's like this little ticking time bomb. He'll do really well in the cart for about 15-20 minutes but then get antsy and frustrated with being strapped in. He'll wiggle and try and get out, he'll yell and whine and throw all of his toys out. I carry a pacifier for extreme measures and meltdowns but I don't rely on it.

I've learned a couple of tricks to keeping his frustration at bay so that we can make it through a trip to the store, no matter how lengthy.
  • Snacks. Have a few different choices in your bag. I bring small containers of graham crackers, grapes, cheese chunks, pretzels, apple slices or even a cubed almond butter and jelly sandwich. He holds on to the container and leisurely munches while I get the shopping done. This helped me survive an hour long trip to the grocery store today. 
  • Toys. Bring ones that he hasn't played with recently. Maybe ones that he only sees when you go to the store. Give them to him one at a time. He'll be interested in it for a bit then trade out the toy for a different one. This will buy you some time.
  • A box of pasta. I give Evan a box of rotini (which I buy weekly) to play with. He can shake it to make noise and he examines the package. I look for other items like cereal or something with a crinkly package that will entertain him. This will occupy him for a few minutes so I can get through the checkout line.
  • A water bottle. I keep one in my purse because Evan likes to open it and close it and drink out of it and shake it. If it's a disposable one, he likes to crunch it up to make sounds.
  • Go for the friendly looking cashier! I've found it really helpful to get the cashier who talks to my kid. It quiets him down and gets his focus on this new person that is paying attention to him. This is a life saver since the meltdowns come at the end of the trip which happens to be in the checkout line when you are in tight quarters with a lot of people. 
So there you have it. My grocery store survival guide. What do you do to make the trips to the store more bearable? 

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