Going to the mall with a toddler can be challenging, but we have the best tips on how to spend quality time with your toddler at the mall!
Tips on How to Spend Quality Time with Your Toddler at the Mall
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Mall time! For most of us, we relatively don’t have any trouble spending quality time at the mall – either alone, or with others. If we are honest, a whining, tantrum-throwing toddler is not in our ‘others’ category list.
“It’s a whole new experience, ” that’s what parents say when they bring along their toddler at the mall. There will be tears, tantrums, shrieks, and tug of war of wills. Instead of having a good time, both parent and child became limp bodies ready to drop at the door after time in the mall!
So, how do you spend quality time at the mall with this little person whose natural desire is to keep moving?
The tips below will hopefully make your time with your toddler at the mall a quality one. By quality, I mean – less of those things that make parents lose their strength and sanity!
Define the Purpose of the Mall Visit
There are a thousand and one things to do at the mall! So, first ask yourself: what is the purpose of this trip? Mall time can be anything and everything from buying a pair of shoes in the Children’s section on the third floor to buying toothpaste at the ground floor supermarket.
Having a concrete plan can save you time and energy. Is this visit purely for entertainment purposes? Do you need to shop at the department store? Or perhaps do the groceries? Are you planning on a mixture of these activities? Can I handle this trip alone or do I need someone to go with me to look after my child when I do some shopping?
Your purpose should be your guide as to where you will go first, then next, then last and the duration of time that you will stay. Before executing your full hatched plan, you should also keep the second tip in mind.
Plan Around Your Toddler’s Needs Rather than Your Own
Have you ever tried shopping for your own clothes with a toddler on your heels? It will be short of a miracle if you (or your toddler) leave the store unscathed! Either your bundle of energy will scoot from one rack to another or whine the whole time.
Here’s what you can do :
Keep it Short
Remember, your toddler’s attention span does not exceed 10 minutes (the younger the child, the shorter the attention span). Without kids, your idea of mall time might be shopping till you drop, but when you do it with a toddler, it’s a sure recipe for disaster. So when you want to make a full shopping experience, it’s best to leave the toddler home with family or babysitter.
When bringing the toddler with you, it’s best to go when the kid is fully rested (after nap time) or during the peak of energy. It’s no fun to have a companion who is tired, sleepy and cranky. Also, skip the mall sales!
Bring or Rent a Sturdy Stroller or Car
Those short little legs can hardly keep up with the adult pace, and in some instances, the adult can scarcely keep up with toddlers who go this way and that! So it’s best to strap the tot in a stroller to enjoy the mall ride. But be sure to let them have a go on walking too! A big stroller that can carry your purchases, your diaper bag and even let your wee one get a quick nap is a plus.
Pack the Essentials
Bring an assortment of basic things for an outdoor trip. Bring 1 or 2 extra clothes, wet wipes (you will need a lot of those), diapers, water, light snacks, a small towel, a small toy, and a grooming kit.
Organize them in the best backpack diaper bag that is convenient for you to pack and carry. There are a lot of diaper bags to choose from and be sure to have the best diaper bag suited for dad as well!
Choose a Mall that Both You and Your Child Can Enjoy
Malls vary considerably from one place to another but generally, they feature child-friendly spaces. With these in mind, take into consideration your child’s interest and limitations.
A Play Space
Choose a play area where you can supervise or play with your child. It can be physical and motor skill play activities, play that supports social interaction and exploratory play that supports learning. This is a significant opportunity for your toddler to explore, engage and learn through observation. Choose a play area that is toddler-friendly and not too crowded with bigger kids.
One of the best quality times I had with all my kids are at the bookstores where they could glean on glossy books. I exposed them to a lot of books and they grew to love them. They still love books to this day.
A Quiet Space
Usually, malls are designed to stimulate the senses. It can bombard children with so many sights and sounds and this can be stressful. Some children can take a lot of novel stimuli but others find it overwhelming. It can trigger hyperactivity or tantrums.
Some malls have a big space for them to burn their energy and there are also quiet spaces if you think your child has had enough and needed time off from a lot of stimulation.
A Child-friendly Establishment
When choosing the right space to eat with your child, a restaurant that can provide these features is a big plus:
- High chair (with a belt, is better)
- Crayons and paper tablecloth or activity placemats
- Kid friendly menu and kid-friendly servings
- Kid-proof eating utensils (plate, fork, spoon, cup)
- A washroom and changing station
There you have it! Roll up your sleeves and try these tips and hacks that will hopefully put some order and ease as you spend quality time with your toddler at the mall?
Do you have any other hacks or ideas that work for you when you go to the mall to spend quality time with your toddler?
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Sonya holds an accounting degree, has worked as a secretary for over a decade at some very prominent news organizations and is a mother of three boys. Her vast experience as a writer and a mother has led her to want to help other mothers find the best products for their children. Visit her website about pregnancy and parenting tips at goeslikethat.com.