Saturday, January 15, 2011

Are Your Shopping Days Over?!?!

I was talking to a girlfriend the other day about shopping with our toddlers. Let’s just say we both have had our share of shopping struggles as of late and running to the mall has become a bit of a strain.

When your toddler becomes mobile and the stroller begins to feel more like a prison than a mode of transportation to him, are your shopping days over?

Your shopping days don’t have to be numbered, but you do need to start thinking more strategically when shopping with a toddler. Take my morning last week, for example. My oldest child was in preschool, and I had just a few hours to cross off some items on my to-do list. I had to buy three birthday gifts and also had to buy an outfit for myself for an upcoming party. I was not looking forward to taking my son with me. However, the shopping had to be finished and I was on a deadline. Instead of dreading it, I thought strategically and came up with a game plan.

Before we even started our shopping trip, I took my son to the neighborhood playground to burn some energy. I felt like he may be less likely to want to crawl out of his stroller to explore the mall if he was physically tired from playing hard. He happily ran and played at the playground, and when he seemed tired, we headed to the mall to begin our shopping adventure.

At the first store, I fed my son an early lunch in his stroller. He was a happy camper, and so was I! One birthday present down, one outfit and two birthday presents to go.

The next stop at the mall was finding an outfit for me. I chose a store that I have had much success in the past with finding clothes. Since time was precious, I wanted to try to eliminate the need to go to multiple stores. I asked for the biggest dressing room available. While I was trying on clothes, I pulled out toys from my diaper bag and my son ran around the dressing room and played. He was pumped to be out of his stroller and I was happy to try on clothes. And luckily, I found the perfect dress for our upcoming event. Score!

I knew my time was running out. I chose one final store near the mall to buy the other two gifts I needed… good ol’ Target. This is my go-to store. During this trip to Target, I had two strategies. One, I put my son in a cart instead of his stroller so he could have a different mode of transportation to switch things up. He seemed excited to ride around the store and we chatted away, face-to-face. I think he enjoyed the change of scenery, and he also loved being close enough to get about a million kisses from me while we shopped. When the newness of the cart wore off, I pulled out my daughter’s toy MP3 player for him to play with. Since my daughter was at school, (shhh...don't tell tell her), my son was in heaven pressing all the buttons, listening to all the songs. This worked like a charm!

I managed to find a birthday gift for a friend, but struck out finding a gift for my brother. Rather than press my luck and try to make it to one more store, I decided to call it a day and we headed home. When I put my son down for his afternoon nap, I got online and ordered my brother’s birthday gift. Remember that online shopping is always an option if you get in a bind!

Hopefully next time you have to go shopping with your toddler, you can come up with a game plan that will work for you, too. See?!?! Your shopping days aren’t numbered. You just have to be a little more strategic!

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