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Simple Ways to Make Running Errands With Kids Easier


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running errands with kids"
running errands with kids
Photo by: Amanda Shapin Michelson
Photo by: Amanda Shapin Michelson

My daughter was only 8 months old when the pandemic began. One of the fun activities we missed out on for two years was everyday errands. During peak isolation, I dreamed of a day when my toddler and I would wander around Target cheers-ing our Starbucks drinks—an oat milk latte for me and frothed warm milk for her.

It took a while, but we finally got our mother-daughter trips to Trader Joe’s (the stickers!), Whole Foods, and of course, our beloved Target. At first, it was exciting. The whole thing was just a thrill. My little one pointed at everything, waved to everyone, and got a big kick out of just being out and about.

Eventually, though, the thrill ends, and your toddler isn’t so keen on being your grocery-shopping sidekick. And that’s where some tactics come in to make these everyday outings more tolerable. If you need some help while getting errands done, here are a few things to try.


Bring entertainment

There’s no shame in screen time. Sometimes, you need to depend on a tablet to get your stuff done. For tablet moments, I do my best to choose educational programs. For that, I love Noggin because it has the characters my toddler loves and offers lessons along the way.

Kids Entertainment and E-Learning Subscription

We come for the Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol and stay for the educational elements. My toddler loves watching and interacting with Noggin while we're out and about.

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iPad Mini

This is our go-to device for the kids to use—and I use it too!

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iPad Mini Case

We keep it safe with a durable case to kid-proof the tablet.

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Go in with a plan, and let your kids know the plan

Gone are the days of casually browsing the aisles with no agenda in mind. I like to go on my errands with a clear-cut plan. Additionally, I make sure to vocalize these plans to my kids. Oftentimes, kids like having an understanding of what is going on and what to expect. So, I talk through the plan before our outing and then reiterate it during the outing. I talk about where we are going, what we will do there, how long it will take, what we will do next, and so on. Talking through it also distracts your child as time passes while you get your errand done.

The Everygirl Notepads (3-Pack)

As much as I love the notes app on my phone, I prefer a paper list, especially for grocery shopping and to-do lists.

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Involve them

Though I don’t let my child dictate our grocery shopping (we’d likely come home with a trunk full of gummy snacks and ice cream), I involve them in the process. I ask what they want to buy, give them a choice between a few items, ask what they want to put on the list, and so on. If they feel more involved, they will enjoy the errand more. And, yes, sometimes I tell them if they behave for the entire trip, they can pick out one treat. We love a good bribe.


Bring snacks

I will admit that Starbucks cake pops are pretty delicious, but if I can avoid buying those to appease an upset or hangry child, I will. This is why my mom bag is always filled with some snacks and then, of course, backup snacks. (Mom needs a snack sometimes too.)

Nature's Bakery
Fig Bars

My kids literally chant, "Snack, snack, snack!" when they want these. They are relatively mess-free, so it's a good on-the-go option. Plus, there are two in a package, so my kids can share.

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Single Serve Chips

I always have these in my pantry and in my bag, and it's a toss-up of who will eat them: my toddler or me.

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More Peas
Snack Cup

This is our favorite snack cup. We bring it on errands, to the park, and on road trips.

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Keep it quick

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned during the toddler years is to get ahead of your kid’s limit. It’s much more pleasant to get 75% of your errands done with a happy toddler than 100% of your errands done while enduring a tantrum. I like to end on a good note and come away from the experience in a positive way, meaning my child will want to join me again in the future—and I’ll want her to be there! I do my best to pay attention to my child’s mood, and if things look like they are taking a turn, it’s time to go. This is a good tactic for playground visits and playdates as well.


Opt for pick up

And when all else fails, and you don’t want to stroll the aisles with a little one in tow, just go ahead and do curbside pickup!

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This post was in partnership with Noggin, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love.