If these tips do not bring some semblance of peace to your shopping trips, you may consider shopping once a week when you can arrange for someone to watch over your toddler at home.
This was what I did by the time my 3rd child had outgrown the baby sling. There just wasn't space in the shopping cart for another child.
Moms tend to feel guilty when shopping with toddlers for all sorts of silly things, but if shopping without your toddler results in a mom feeling more relaxed, then do it! Maybe you will be better focused, shop quicker and have time to fit in a latte before you go home!
Also take a peep at this page about making money whilst shopping with your children. Read the full account, but yes I would get paid £50 per visit to a shop of my choosing. My Kids would each receive £25 in Amazon vouchers. (Cash cannot be given to children). My children would not be approached, spoken to, nothing. I would be instructed to walk them down an aisle and stay for a few minutes. My children would be observed to see what caught their eye! That was it, easy money.
Prepare your child beforehand with exactly what you expect from them during the time at the shop. You can also let them know consequences for good and bad choices. For example, when they choose to walk quietly beside the cart with you and help you find things, you will allow them too.
However, if they run away from you, or tantrum when you say "no" to something, you will place them back in the seat.
Sometimes it worked saying that you were shopping for their lunch/dinner, and ask them to look out for certain items. Or the old "the quicker we are out of here, the sooner you can.... do something.
Nothing is 100%, as soon as you think you have cracked it, the tide changes, and you have to reinvent your shopping mastery all over again.
You can also reinforce good choices in the shop by rewarding them after the fact. Or example: "Liam, you have been so helpful, at the checkout I will let you choose a small sweet."
Up until my children were well into preschool years, I always had a shopping corner set up for them. This moved around as children were added and homes were changed, but it was always there.
You can buy plastic food (wood and material now too!), purchase a Little Shopping Cart and set up some shelves like I did.
I also used to keep old boxes and containers from our own products which were taped closed and became part of the shop.
When my children were of early school going age, we played many shop games which introduced them to the concept of money and change.
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