When we run errands with our kids, sometimes it feels like such a PROCESS! 😩 From meltdowns at the bank to forgetting my grocery list at home—it can seem more like an epic journey, instead of two hours of errands.
Next time will be better, though! I’ve been asking other parents how they handle being on the go with kids in tow—here are the best 3 easy survival tips they had to offer:
Supercharge your diaper bag with necessities & fun surprises to reveal if your kiddo gets restless—or if your kids are a bit older, pack an “errand emergency” kit to keep near the door so you can grab it on your way out.
A travel toiletry bag is great for this—most are water/stain proof and come with different sized compartments (like a mini diaper bag), great for organizing snacks, wipes, small toys, crayons, and mini notepads.
Don’t forget extra clothes, too—bottoms for any accidents or spills, plus layers for unpredictable weather. Layers are way easier (and safer) than coats when it comes to getting in and out of car seats or buses, and help prevent complaints of being too hot or cold.
TIP: If you use things from your bag, replace them when you get home (that way you’re not running around like crazy to find stuff the next time you’re trying to get out the door).
Sue, mom to two in Arizona, goes a step further. 🐻 “I never leave the house without a runner-up stuffed animal (so it won’t be earth-shattering if we leave it somewhere) and a couple magazines. They love looking at the photos, and I don’t have to worry they’ll lose or tear up a book.”
Let them be part of the planning and give them as many choices as you can, and they’ll be a lot more enthusiastic (and cooperative)!
Let them pick a costume to wear, help make decisions about which way to go (“Should we drive over the bridge, or past the library?”), and even have them pack a small bag of treasures to take along for the adventure.
(BONUS: those treasures can help keep little hands busy when they start to get bored)
Robyn, mom of 5 from Michigan, thought leaving toys at home would keep things simple (fewer things to lose along the way!), but errands got SO much easier when she injected a little fun into the trips.
Here are her two youngest, one wearing a “tool belt” & snow boots in July, the other carrying her fave Halloween candy bucket full of underwear (because…kids 🤷).
The result? “The kids still talk about what a blast that was, and because they were happy instead of moping, I had a blast, too!”
Kids love to help, AND it keeps them busy! 👍 Find age appropriate ways to involve them, so they feel like part of the action.
Even bitty toddlers can take your receipt, hold a produce bag while you fill it, or help you choose the coolest stamps at the post office.
Older kids can do stuff like pick out a box of cereal, count bolts at the hardware store, hand money to cashiers, or help you find the right size in a shirt you picked out.
Kim, mother of one in Indiana, reports, “My son loves it when I give him a job—any job. I once kept him entertained in a waiting room for 20 minutes by asking him to let me know whenever a red car passed by the front window!”
I hope these ideas help make your outings with kids less stressful! Have a great day (even if you’re running errands) 😉