Shopping with toddlers made easy

We were just talking last week about how amazing my job as a mom is, right? There are so many amazing things to love about being a mom. But I tell you, my least favorite part is taking the kids shopping. I’m sure this parenting issue is on your radar too amidst all the back-to-school action.


We have a big trip coming up in just a few weeks and we need some very specific outfits for the events on this trip. Hunting for a specific item makes shopping even more stressful. We needed to pop in and out of stores quickly and having the kiddos in tow did not make that easy. In fact, this weekend was an absolute nightmare and I nearly lost my mind on multiple occasions. So it is only out of making mistakes that I can write this post. And believe me, most of these tips will not classify me as a “good parent” but I will at least have my sanity at the end of the shopping trip!

Affiliate links are included in this post. When you click through and make a purchase I receive a small portion of the sale. Thank you for helping support this blog and my family through purchasing through links!


I know, I’m a genius! Mic drop. End of sentence. The end. I mean this one tip can save us all. I could stop writing this article now. I actually tried all weekend to book a babysitter so Alex and I could shop alone but it didn’t work out. So on Saturday my expectations crashed after the first stop and we called it quits. Calling it quits could be a tip all its own. But I’m assuming if you are reading this you probably need to get it done. Most days I would just opt not to shop at all. But when that isn’t an option then book a babysitter if you can. It is worth the money. I will even save money when my kids aren’t with me because I tend to make better, more rational decisions. So if this post does anything for you, let it take away the guilt of hiring help so you can shop.

Tip #2 Shop online

There were a few things we needed to do in person this weekend (tux rental, try on dresses, etc.) but when we could we always wound up online, after the girls were in bed, making the difficult shopping decisions. It’s so much easier to compare prices, sort through options and make a choice when there are less distractions. Since becoming a mom I have the most difficult time making decisions in the store. I wind up buying it all to take home and sort through, hoping to return the things I don’t really want or need. Sure shopping online has its own risks and you may wind up needing to return some things but online shopping saved us this week! I nearly bought a dress for $400 in the store because I liked it so much! But once home I could rationalize that the similar dress from Rent the Runway! (<affiliate link) for just $70 would be so much better for our budget. Plus I know I will only get one use out of this dress so buying would be ridiculous!

Tip #3 Screen Time

Watching my one and a half year old stare blankly at Dora on my phone screen doesn’t make me feel all warm and fuzzy, but it sure helps when I’m trying to have a serious conversation with my husband over how wide a bell-bottom needs to be. On Saturday we were attempting to be that family who never uses screens yet has magical powers to keep their children from spraying shoe polish all over the Jos A Bank. We failed miserably. On Sunday we wizened up. With LeapPads and iPhones in tow we made it through the mall. I learned my lesson the hard way. Not that I would before, but I really will never judge another mom for her use of screens with her children. Thank goodness we have these devices! What did our parents ever do before?

Tip #4 Bribes

Ok, so bribes don’t entirely work for our strong-willed toddlers. They don’t have a great grasp on the concept of “if this then that.” They are better at instant gratification. But occasionally it’ll work. We had been telling Eleanor for days that we were going to take her to the “Baby Store” (American Girl) and while it didn’t ensure her good behavior it did give her something to look forward to. We forgot to actually bring her baby with us which we tiptoed around by saying we were bringing the present home for baby. It was quite an expensive bribe but we were planning to do it anyway. Normally we would promise something like a cookie or smoothie instead.

Tip #5 Babywear

Our one and a half year old loves riding in the Ergobaby carrier. And our almost four year old can still fit in it and doesn’t entirely mind it. When one kiddo gets out of hand in the stroller they get to ride on our backs. We are still hands free and if they are on the back shopping is a breeze. Alex and I will alternate who is carrying based on who needs to try on clothes. But seriously, babywearing is the answer to everything, isn’t it? They certainly can’t get into too much trouble on our backs!

Introducing Adapt Carrier by Ergobaby-Newborn to Toddler

If you are a mom, likely you have already tried some or all of these tips for shopping with your toddlers. Which of these tips works best for you? What are some of your best tips for taking your kids shopping with you?

2 thoughts on “Shopping with toddlers made easy

  1. Good piece Tanya. I have a 2 year old and I actually love taking him grocery shopping and always have. And 95% of the time he is great! And I have never had to leave the store without finishing what I needed to get. Have I needed to hurry up? Yes. Has he been fussy? Yup. I have brought snacks with me and usually that works. So does pretending the shopping cart is a plane. And in my experience the biggest “trick” I have is to not be too attached to how I think it should go. If I can keep my calm and sense of humor, things seem to go better. Am I the perfect dad? Hardly! And maybe 30 plus years of working with other people’s kids has had some benefits . Keep up the great work.

    • Shawn, I can only imagine how much fun you and your son must have together! Alex and I have often said every parent should be a camp counselor first. Our camping pasts make being parents so much better. No outing is complete without a camp song! And luckily there is one about just about everything. Your experience in camping no doubt gives you so much creativity as a parent. I need to draw from my experience more. Too many days I forget how to have fun! I will say though, I used to have a lot more fun shopping with kids when it was just one. With just Eleanor in tow a store was just an adventure for us. And I also loved grocery shopping with her. But with two it tends to feel more like 10. They play off each other, they have someone to fight with, it just becomes a lot more difficult. Adjusting expectations is always best, and second best is online shopping! Thank you so much for reading! It is so good to hear from you!

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s