It might seem too good to be true, but it’s possible to go through a tantrum-free shopping experience with your toddlers. Every parent fears the moment of stepping into a grocery shop or a mall, just waiting for that moment of incessant kicking and screaming, and no bribe seems to have effect in those awful, embarrassing situations.

Before you get ready for your next shopping war with toddlers, discover a few tried and tested methods many moms and dads swear by when it comes to turning an excruciating experience into a fun one, with well-behaved kids and plenty of time to spare.

Plan well

Such a basic, yet often overlooked element that affects your toddlers’ mood is their natural sleeping and feeding rhythm, which should play a key role when you plan your family shopping time. You need to make sure that your little ones have had a good night’s sleep and a healthy nap before you take them out, because all the noise, crowd, traffic jams and stuffy malls will only make them cranky.

If you let them have a nice meal or a snack before you set your shopping plans, that will also help them feel calm and happy during your little excursion, making them less prone to cause trouble once you get there.

Prepare some diversion

And what better way to distract your kids among endless racks of colourful items, many of which are either edible or completely toxic, than by giving them something equally appealing and yummy? Even if they have just had their meal at home, toddlers burn through energy surprisingly quickly, and giving them healthy snacks to keep them occupied is more than a useful option.

A healthy treat can go a long way in keeping your kids entertained and happy while you peruse through the shelves, and it can be a long time before they get distracted by something along your way. For instance, kids love dried fruits of all sorts covered with chocolate, so if you give them a pack of chocolate-covered goji berries or some other healthy snack, they will be happy for a while.

Include them in the process

As a part of your planning process, you can sit down with your kids, bring out the heavy ammo such as a box of colouring pencils, a few glittery stickers and start making the ultimate shopping list. That will make your kids feel as a part of the whole decision-making process, and you can even pretend to negotiate a few of their silly ideas such as buying a pony or a plane because kids tend to make those suggestions.

Finally, when you go over your final list, and your kids agree on buying exactly those items, you can then check with them where to go next to buy a certain item on the list, let them give you directions and ideas where it might be, and of course, make sure to spend a reasonable amount of time talking to them about why it’s important not to buy anything that’s not on the list.

Make it as comfy as possible

If you make their mall rides almost a luxurious, pampering experience, no toddler will willingly abandon its super comfy, fun trolley for the sake of a cereal box. Before you leave the house, make sure to bring your reliable dummy clips to keep them busy and prevent them from dropping and losing their favourite dummy.

Moreover, if it’s a cold season, then you can let them wear a tee under warmer clothes so that they can take off the unnecessary layers. You don’t want your kids to get too warm somewhere because they can get cranky and fidgety, and no level of comfort will make them stay put in that case!

Focus on yourself

Sometimes you can do everything right, and then some, and still end up with a crying child on your hands, unfinished shopping to do and a whole batch of judgmental looks coming from other shoppers and cashiers. In all fairness, kids can be unpredictable, and all of your efforts might be in vain to soothe and reason with your little rascal.

In those situations, as harsh as it may sound, you will need to find a way to detach yourself from those evil looks and undeserved comments. A brief meditation before you go shopping can help you ease your mind into the possibility of losing the shopping battle, or a healthy cardio session that will fill you with feel-good endorphins. Either way, in addition to thinking about your kids and making them happy, explore various ways to make the trip as enjoyable or tolerable as possible for yourself as well.