Children are such a handful on their own. If you add the stress of running errands, this might seem like a recipe for disaster. Thankfully, there are many ways you can manage everything on your to-do list while keeping your children happy in the process. Consider these four tips.
Eliminate Outside Distraction
When you cut the guesswork out of the process as much as possible, you’ll be in great shape. For example, if one of your stops is the local hardware store, call ahead to make sure they have the item in stock. This will keep you from wandering around aimlessly with your little ones in tow.
When you know your kids love being outside and will often get distracted on the way to the car, pull the family car into the garage. A short distance from door to car and a garage door opener will work wonders on your car-loading times. This way, you cut out the trip outside and kids can focus on getting into their seats quickly without running around first.
If you have a regular grocery shopping trip, you can even cut out the need to walk around yourself. Many stores nowadays have pickup programs so you never have to leave your car. Simply put in your order online, park in your designated spot, and you’re on your way to a full fridge without any tantrums.
Carry Welcome Distractions
One of the best ways to keep your children entertained for the short term is through the use of electronics. If you’re going to be in traffic or walking around a store for a while, bring one of the tablets. Fasten it to the back of one of the headrests or your cart and let the children enjoy a pre-approved movie or show while you go about your business. Keep snacks and emergency supplies with you so that no one gets cranky during the process. If you have smaller phones that the children can use to play various games on, it’s nice to bring those phones for that purpose. You can even have older children take pictures of things they see on the trip—like a scavenger hunt! This way, they’ll be entertained while you’re getting things done. This will also help your kids learn to enjoy their time out of the house.
Play Road Games
If you’re not a big fan of electronics, you can find fun ways to enjoy one another on the road. Whether it’s a fun game of “I Spy” or joke telling, you can use running errands as a time to connect and bond with your children. If you’re looking for a specific item in the store, make a game out of it. Have your children help you find what you’re looking for. If you find ways to make the experience light, it’ll be easier for everyone to enjoy.
Most people don’t like long, boring tasks like sitting in the DMV. They can mentally make it through if they know that there’s an incentive on the other side. In the case of a mother with kids, you might want to promise ice cream or a great movie when the kids get home. If your kids understand that their actions will determine what happens next, they’ll be more likely to be on their best behavior.
As a mom who’s on the move, you don’t have time to sit around and wait for your children to get it together—you’ve got things to do. These four tips will help you work towards checking things off of your to-do list without losing your sanity in the process.