Chores for them: If it's theirs or communal mess, I give directives for each person. Tasks are about 3 minutes long and very basic.
Chores for me: If I need to clean, I usually preoccupy them with music and drawing; 20-60 minutes of Netflix; or quiet play in their room. I know they are safe and not focused on unravelling my progress.
Grocery Store: I know that I have a 40 minute window before someone goes rogue- either crying super loud, biting a sibling or "MacGyvering" out the cart. With that in mind I set my stop watch and shop like super market sweepstakes. I know that if I take my time, I may have to embarrass someone so my list is very detailed and often categorized for efficiency. Even though I hate it, I push the cart with the car on the front because... it makes them happy.
Retail Store: If I venture into Target, Walmart or some other retail store, I make it super interactive. I keep them engaged by letting them choose flavors or scents or colors. This way they are focused on participating on the task at hand rather than what they want to do.
Car Shop, Doctor's Office and other waiting rooms: If we sit in a waiting room I always bring a bookbag filled with snacks and activities. Usually the snacks are spread thin over a long period, rather than handing them a bag and everything is gone in 5 minutes. The older two use their iPads and play interactive games and I usually spend the time entertaining the youngest one with taking pictures or flashcards on my phone. I like electronics over books because I have more than 50 apps to choose from and it's a much lighter option than lots books and crayons.
Mall: At the mall I am often buying for them, so the trip is really smooth. They understand that I will leave without buying anything as well (which has happened on occasion). So usually they are excited to walk around, people watch, window shop and play in the indoor play area.
Bank: The drive through is my best friend!
Mutiny lurks beneath the exterior of a restless toddler and reeling them in can be difficult some days and easy others. Never be afraid to say, "hey, maybe not today". Every child is different and knowing your child is key to your success and theirs. To eliminate frustration, think ahead. We can't plan everything, but it's better to control your controllables:
- Remember when their lunch and nap times are
- Remember to bring a lovie if they are at the stage where they need that comfort
- Play some of their songs on the way to set the tone of the trip
- Provide interesting ways to interact during your errands
- Communicate your expectations EVERY time you enter a door (even the car door)
They are small for such a short period of time; make the most of each opportunity.
Good Luck and Have Fun!