How to Run Errands With Your Kids

Don’t let your kids drive you crazy on your next errand run. Use these helpful tips to run your errands stress-free.

There are few things more stressful than being stuck in traffic with ice cream melting in the bag and a two year old melting down in the back seat. But today you’re more likely than ever to be running your errands with children in tow. To cope:

  • Run your errands at the right time of day for the child. If you’ve got a toddler, that’s morning, before naptime.
  • Stock the car with snacks, juices and toys. Keep a cooler in the front with cold drinks and cut-up fruit that you can hand back to your toddler when he or she gets grumpy. Have stocks of toys that come out only when you’re running errands.
  • Keep an extra diaper bag in the car. This way, you don’t have to worry about forgetting something, Make sure the bag is stocked with diapers, wipes, a change of clothes and diaper cream.
  • Combine errands for you with a treat for your child. It could be lunch out, an ice cream or a trip to the park.
  • Play games while you’re shopping. Give a school-age child a calculator and ask him or her to add up the cost of the groceries as you go along. Let pre-school children put non-breakable items into the shopping cart. Toddlers can pick the color of the tissues you buy, and will enjoy a game of peekaboo as you go round the aisles.
  • Bring the right carrying equipment for babies and infants: a backpack or a front sling bag, both of which leave your hands free.
  • Play a thinking game with older children to keep them disciplined and you relaxed. A good game is “jotto.” You each pick a word with five letters, no two the same, and have to guess the other’s word by stating five-letter words and being told how many letters match. Keeping track in your head is challenging, but fun.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest