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Smoother shopping with your toddler in tow

By Meagan Ruffing

Are you tired of going grocery shopping with a pokey, whiny toddler in tow? Check out these fast and fun ways to keep junior out of trouble while you happily tick items off your list.

Pack Snacks
Pack a bag full of colourful snacks that are specifically for grocery story runs only. If your son knows that he only gets to eat fruit snacks when he is grocery shopping with mommy, he’ll be more excited to get his special treat once he’s sitting in the cart ready to cooperate.
Don’t Forget the Sippy Cup
Make sure your daughter has a nice, cold drink in her sippy-cup to wash down all of those yummy snacks. You don’t want to be running back and forth to the water fountain when you could be stacking your cart full of groceries.
Travel Aisle Treasures
Take a stroll down the aisle with the travel-sized items. While you get your coupons organized. your little one can pretend to squirt you with the 99-cent water bottle. And if your son becomes attached to something travel-sized (which my son almost always does), you’ll never pay more than a dollar or so. And the next time you leave for a trip, you’ll have plenty of travel on hand.
Fish Kiss
Promise to take your child to see some fish (if the store you are in or near has them) or visit a nearby pet store, if she uses her best behaviour for the whole shopping trip. This also buys time to grab the items you need for your pets while putting a smile on your little girl’s face. Teach her how to say goodbye to the fish or pets and promise that she’ll see them next time if she remembers her manners.
“New Snack”
Megan Scoon, mom of 3-year-old Camryn says, “I find that a new snack (as opposed to one I packed at home) always works better. I will just open a new box of whatever we are buying and she will sit and eat them for a while. I just have to remember when I get to the register to tell the check out lady that we opened it.” Even though it may seem counter-intuitive, a hungry child will sit and quietly snack longer, thereby giving you more time.
Coupon Cutie
What kid doesn’t like holding on to mom’s coupons? Megan lets Camryn cut out her‘own’ coupons at home so when they get to the store, Camryn can help match the coupon to the food. “I let her hold on to a few that we are going to use,” says Megan. “She’s really into it.”

1-2-3 Produce
Once you’re in the produce section let junior weigh your fruits and vegetables (even if you don’t really need them weighed). It’s good numbers practice and your child feels like a big kid by doing something adults get to do. Also, let him pick out the produce you need and help him put it into the bags.
Deli Delight
Need meat? Go on a thank-you hunt. Practice ‘thank yous’ to the deli server when she gives you your order. Ask for a piece of whatever you’re ordering for your child. Her politeness practice will be sure to put a smile on the deli server’s face.
Count the Change
Last but not least, check out time is often the most tedious part of the grocery shopping experience. But Nichole Ogden, mom of two kids under two gets her son Landry involved. “If I am paying with cash, I always put some change in his pocket for him to get out and pay with at the register. This makes him feel involved and important.”
The next time you find yourself panicking at the thought of making a grocery run, don’t fret. Reread this list of tips and tricks before you go to help keep things on track. Happy shopping!