Why I Don’t Run Errands With My Toddler

I suspect I might be an outlier in this respect, but I don’t run {solo} errands with my toddlers. If it can be avoided, then I avoid it. When my teen and tween were little, I did my grocery-shopping after bedtime, and now that we’ve started over again with a little one, we’ve found workarounds to avoid stressful outings that end in tears for someone {usually the toddler, but some days it could go either way}. Here’s why…

Why I Don't Run Errands With My Toddler | Houston Moms Blog

1.} I have options.

I don’t HAVE to take my toddler with me out of necessity. I’m married, and I’m a stay-at-home mom. My husband works M-F and is home before 5pm. He will often swing by the store on the way home for last minute needs. Evenings and weekends are open for two-parent errands or errands all by myself too. {If that wasn’t the case, I think I would be all about those grocery pick-up services during this stage of life though!}

2.} Toddlers {especially MY toddler} are not built for being still and quiet while self-entertaining. 

I’m a path-of-least-resistance parent in a lot of ways. I keep my expectations equivalent to my kids’ developmental stages and personalities. My toddler has one of those precious little high-needs personalities, and she wants interaction and attention almost constantly. She’s always signing things that she observes in the world and wants me to say/sign them back. She wants to know I’m engaging in the world with her. Always. There is no way to successfully navigate a grocery store trip while consulting a shopping list, thoroughly reading food labels for any allergens, giving my toddler the level of eye contact and interaction she needs, AND getting out of the store before she is totally done with sitting. It just can’t be done, and I’m okay with that! My husband and I go grocery shopping together so one of us can tend to her and go on a walk with her when the time inevitably comes, and someone can pay attention to the list and labels.

3.} I LIKE to be alone when I run errands.

I’m a stay-at-home mom, so I spend nearly 100% of my little one’s waking hours with her. We have loads of together time. Some days it is a real treat to run out in the evening by myself, have control of the radio, and mosey around a store at my own pace. Peace and quiet is pretty refreshing, even when you are rushing around to buy last-minute theater costume pieces from the thrift stores or bottle bag refills from Target!

4.} She will still have plenty of chances to learn how to behave in public.

As I mentioned before, we often go on dual parent outings which are good learning opportunities for her without the pressure or unreasonable expectations. I also take her on practice outings where we don’t have an agenda or goal; we just go through the motions of the errand, minus the stress and prolonged timetable. We practice holding hands when walking or sitting in the cart and having a snack, that sort of thing, but nobody cares if we have to cut it short and leave empty-handed. She’ll get there in her own time, just like her older brother and sister did.

5.} She’s a food-allergy kid.

I can never take my eyes off her outside of our home. There is almost always food that has been dropped on the floors that has the potential to take her life. Packages of food to be grabbed from shelves and opened in a blink, full of food that could kill her. There is litter from candy or coffee containers that could kill her. I can’t absentmindedly grab food from the shelves while quizzing her on animal sounds or singing the ABCs, even if we have bought it 100 times before because manufacturers change ingredients without notice. If we don’t read it every time, she could die. Keeping her safe is a task that requires constant vigilance.

So, that is why I don’t run {solo} errands with my toddler. It makes us all happier and keeps her safe, too. It is such a short season of life, and before we know it – she will be my big helper, finding things on the shelves, holding my hand like a pro, and {hopefully} no longer be prone to sticking everything she finds directly into her mouth. Until then, we will keep doing what works for us. 

How about you? How do you handle errands with your toddlers?

One Response to Why I Don’t Run Errands With My Toddler

  1. Noelle May 23, 2017 at 10:04 am #

    Reason #2 was reason enough for me when my kids were little.

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