Running errands with a toddler in tow requires a lot of patience and careful planning. Parents who just throw a toddler into the car and go often end up facing tantrums, messes and a fear of never leaving the house again. However, when you plan in advance, running errands with a toddler can actually be a fairly stress-free experience and a good learning experience for your toddler.The time you run your errands is key. If your toddler naps regularly, that nap time will determine when you run your errands. If your child naps at 1 p.m., you do not want to leave the house at noon, because the closer you get to 1 p.m., the more disagreeable your toddler may become. Most toddlers are at their best in the mornings, before lunch time.
Of course, other factors can contribute to how well your toddler does while running errands. Being hungry or bored can also make running errands a challenge. Be sure to take a snack and water or juice with you and keep a few juice boxes and snacks in your trunk in case of emergencies. Let your toddler take along a toy too and plan to play a game or two while you are out. Games such as “I Spy” are great to teach your toddler and save for while you’re running errands.
When your toddler is awake, not hungry and entertained, you are more likely to be able to run errands with your toddler in tow successfully. However, if you have a toddler, you know that tantrums can be unpredictable, so also be flexible, avoid leaving errands to the last minute and remember that if your child doesn’t do well, you’re not the first one to have experienced a screaming toddler in the bank, at the post office or in the grocery store.