When the fridge is bare, the snacks are scarce and there’s no one around to watch your toddler, the time has come to prepare for what can feel like a major expedition: grocery shopping. With a toddler in tow, this seemingly simple task can turn a little tricky. But, with a bit of planning – and, sometimes, a lot of patience – you can make it from fresh fruit to frozen foods with a tranquil, tear-less tot in your trolley.

1. Make a list and check it twice

Before you set out on your quest, jot down everything you need. Your little one’s curiosity can make for regular distractions, which might have you leaving the supermarket without essentials like bread and ice-cream. A list also eliminates the time spent wandering aimlessly down the aisles trying to remember what you went there for.

2. Give them a ride AND a job to do!

The shopping trolley is the easiest way to transport your tot around the store, so strap your little one in safely before you venture through the aisles. While they’re cruising in the cart, deploy their special skills by asking them to help carry unbreakable items, like a favourite box of crackers, or finding a particular packet of biscuits (“look for the red and white packaging”). Keeping their brains and hands busy will mean more shopping and less retrieving items from the floor when your tot inevitably swats them off the shelves.

3. Pack snacks before you go

Nothing says grocery shopping with a toddler like listening to them plead for their favourite foods. Save yourself the stress and potential tears by stashing a few healthy snacks before you go. Keeping that little tummy fed and full will ease their hungry eyes and ensure a happier trip for both of you.

4. Skip trouble spots or speed through them

Avoid lengthy trips down the confectionary aisle. In the eyes of your toddler, these trouble spots present like the bright colours and must-have delights of a kiddie carnival. If sweets aren’t necessary this time around, skip it! But, if a stroll down lolly lane is inevitable, grab your goodies ever-so efficiently and go go go!

5. Engage your child and have fun!

Grocery shopping can also be a great opportunity to talk and ‘catch-up’ with your little one. Asking detail-specific questions like what happened in the most recent episode of their favourite show can help to engage your child, buying you precious minutes for shopping and bonding.

If you’re endowed with the natural ability to multi-task, then try your hand at entertaining as you shop. Whether you make a game of guessing prices or compose a cheery song about milk and eggs, find ways of making the trip fun for both you.