During the summer do you miss the glorious trips to Target while the kids are at school? I won’t lie. My trips to the grocery store, Costco, Walmart, or even the gas station are way less stressful when the kids are not with me. Not only is it less nerve-wracking, I spend less money.
When lugging around the kids, you are less likely to adhere to your list and buy more convenience items…and snacks.
This has been the summer of me running errands with my kids. Partly because my son eats everything in sight but mostly because my husband needs it quiet during his video meetings. As difficult as running errands with the kids can be, keeping them silent in the house is next to impossible.
Here are some of the steps I take to keep our daily outings copacetic.
How to Run Errands With Kids Without Losing Your Mind
Planning for the win
If you have multiple errands to run or stores to hit during the week, sit down and do some planning. Make a short list of the places that are the farthest from your home, are time-consuming, require long periods of stillness and quiet from your kids, or are chaotic and stressful.
For us, Costco and the fresh produce store are the farthest from our home. The time spent in the car is important when you have a child that is prone to carsickness like mine. Walmart and Costco are the most stressful for me. Costco is crowded and the sample tables (that my kids love) make our trips there take twice as long. Doctor’s appointments, the post office, and places like the DMV require patience, from all of us.
I never ever ever try to bring the kids to more than one high stress place a day. It’s not worth it.
Even though you have a plan, get ready to pivot. If it’s storming and you plan to drive 45 minutes to the produce market, the risk of carsickness and grappling with a dozen bags of groceries in the pouring rain while wrangling kids is definitely not worth it. I reschedule the big trip for another day and grab quick essentials from the grocery store near our house.
Don’t over schedule
The summer heat breeds crankiness. I try not to over schedule errands on a single day. Kids just don’t have the stamina that adults do.
Plan pit stops
Remember how your kindergarten teacher made you stand up and get the wiggles out? The same goes for kids that have been cooped up or carted from store to store.
A ten minute pit stop at a playground can make miracles happen. On particularly trying days, I don’t punish my kids by taking away a trip to the park. I mitigate the behavior by letting them be active and reset outdoors. A few minutes of play can change the whole tone of the day.
I also pack healthy snacks in a cooler to bring along with us, like Dannon Danimals. These convenient yogurt smoothies are perfect for on the go snacking.
Kids are kids! I’m thankful for each stage that my kids are in. When they were screaming toddlers, I told myself that at least they weren’t in heavy car seats that took up all the shopping cart space anymore. When they became preschoolers, I was glad that the diaper days were over. Now I am thankful that we don’t have to go straight to the bathroom at every single stop anymore. It’s the little things.
Here’s a pro tip that I wish I had learned when I had toddlers – Never bring your kids to the grocery store bakery for a free cookie. They will NEVER forget that there are free cookies in that store. What they don’t know won’t hurt them and you will save yourself years of whining for a cookie every time you pull into the parking lot of your favorite grocery store.
What do you do to save your sanity while running around with the kids?