I was pretty sure I had this mom thing figured out before I even had a child. Ha! I was just like most of us, learning as we go. Lucky for you, this guest post from Christine over at Raising Biracial Babies offers just that! Every one of these tips is something I do when running errands with my kids.
Tips for running errands with
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Running errands with small children often incites anxiety in most moms. You fear your kids will have tantrums in public, they won’t behave, they will run off, and the list goes on! But you’re also busy and you may not have the time or opportunity to wait and leave your kids with someone so you can run your errands alone.
So what can you do if you have to run errands with your small children in tow?
As a single mom, I don’t have the opportunity to leave my kids at home to run my errands. Everywhere I go my kids go. So by default I’ve had to figure out what I can do to make running errands easier and more fun. These super helpful tips will help you run errands with your kids more efficiently!
You should plan out your errands at the beginning of your week so you don’t become overwhelmed with too much to do on any one day. You also don’t want to stretch your kids too far by doing too many activities and errands on one day because it could cause a meltdown! If you haven’t experienced that yet, trust me you want to avoid that at all costs!
So what I do is I look at what activities my kids have to do during the week. Then I fit my errands in where it makes sense. So if an activity is near a grocery store, I’ll run to the grocery store before or after the activity. Or if it makes more sense I will wait for a day that we don’t have anything going on to run a few errands.
Give your kids expectations.
If your kids are old enough to converse with you, let them know what to expect. When I know we have to run errands, during breakfast I will explain that after we finish eating we will do our morning get ready routine, and after that we will be going to the store. Then during our morning routine, I remind them again that in a short while we will be going to the store. Then when it’s time to go to the store, there are no surprises because my kids knew what to expect the whole morning. This cuts back on tantrums and helps speed along the process so it doesn’t take you forever to get out the door.
Avoid doing any errands around nap time.
Now this is unavoidable when you have a newborn because they sleep so much. But once your child becomes a toddler, you really want to avoid taking them anywhere near nap time. They are much more likely to have a tantrum because they are overtired. So plan for your errands to take place well before or well after nap time.
I made this mistake when my oldest was a young toddler. My short errand ended up taking much longer than I anticipated and I had not brought any snacks with me because I thought the trip would be short. I’ll admit it was a rookie mistake! By the end of the trip my daughter was inconsolable and I couldn’t figure out why. I thought maybe she was tired but she didn’t fall asleep in the car, she cried the whole way home. As soon as I got her home I fed her and she immediately stopped. Lesson learned! Always bring snacks to avoid your child becoming hungry.
You can also have a special snack or a favorite snack that you give your kids when you are about to get in the car. When they know they have a treat to look forward to it helps immensely in speeding up the process of getting out the door!
Bring a special toy or activity along for the errand.
When your child becomes older, they eventually get shiny object syndrome. They want everything they see! Obviously you can’t buy everything for them, so it helps to bring a special toy, book, or activity that they can use while you are doing your errands.
My favorites are toy cars, a quiet book, (which is a book that has pieces you can velcro, buckles you can snap and unsnap, buttons, and other fun things to keep your kids occupied), coloring books, and occasionally I will play them music on my phone.
This has been a life-saver on many occasions! When my kids were little babies, it was easy because I wouldn’t have to lug the car seat everywhere. I had more room in carts because I didn’t have to put the car seat in the cart. I would just wrap them up in a baby carrier and go! This has come in handy with my toddlers as well. Both my kids went through a phase where they didn’t want to sit in the cart, but they were too little to follow me. If I let them out, they would wander off. So baby wearing them at that age prevented them from running away, becoming irritated in the cart, and helped me get my errands done faster.
Wearing my youngest in the carrier helped prevent sibling squabbles, which would happen if both my kids had to be in the cart at the same time.
Another great thing about wearing your toddler, is that if you do end up having to go out during nap time, they can still sleep while you are carrying them.
Have your kids participate in your errands.
When I go grocery shopping, my oldest loves to help pick out the food we need and put it in the cart. She also loves to help me put the food on the conveyor belt when we check out. She also asks questions about the food we are getting or food she wants that we can’t get.
Involving her in the errand teaches her important life skills, (some food is not healthy or it isn’t in our budget so we can’t buy it, some food is considered special treats, and other food helps them become healthy and strong). Engaging her also helps prevent shiny object syndrome and boredom, which can cause acting out.
Having to take my kids with me everywhere used to fill me with anxiety because I would become overwhelmed thinking about if they had tantrums in public, or all the work it would take to get them ready and out the door. But now, I’ve streamlined the process so my errands run much smoother! These tips can help take that dread out of running errands with your kids and can even add fun moments to your day!
What are your best tips for running errands with children?
Hi I’m Christina! I’m the founder of Raising Biracial Babies. I help single moms navigate work and life while parenting young kids. I also discuss the challenges single moms face supporting mixed race identity when raising biracial children in a one race household. It’s a community with lots of inspiration, practical solutions, and advice! Come join us! Check out my free resource library at, Raising Biracial Babies to receive freebies, advice & tips for parenting young children, raising mixed babies, & single mom life. Follow me on pinterest!
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