My headline may be misleading. I don’t know that I have any amazing tips for shopping with a toddler. If you have any, please, please share them. After three kids you would think that I would be a pro at venturing out shopping with a tiny human. But I am not. No matter how much I prepare, she always has the upper hand. So I need some help. Please.
I bring snacks which 75% of the time she manages to spill all over the floor (bless the gentleman who helped me pick up bunny crackers off the floor last week in Costco). Distractions, toys, books, etc. don’t work with her. I try to make shopping a game or give her a job to help me with. Lately I have been letting her walk next to me and help push the cart, but she ends up either running away or pulling everything off the shelves. Eventually I give in and let her watch Frozen videos on YouTube (which results in me paying an extra $15 every month for going over my data plan – why didn’t I spring for unlimited data??). I have even brought the older kids to help me. All have been major fails.
So far my toddler has managed to:
- Run away in local clothing store – She was quietly hiding under a rack of clothes while my friend and I were racing through the store calling her name. Sneaky little thing.
- Escape from the dressing room at Nordstrom and run around the store wearing only a diaper. Thank you leaky diaper. I may not have had an extra outfit, but at least I had a spare diaper, right? Props to my eight year old who chased her and brought her back to the dressing room so I didn’t have to run after her topless through Nordstrom.
- Drive me insane in Costco while she wants in the cart, out of the cart, and then back in. And then out again so she can run away to locate and pounce on the giant stuffed bear (you all know what I am talking about).
- Get lost with her brother in Target. Again, my eight year old is on it. Thankfully he had enough sense to stay put and wait for me to come find them. Which just happened to be in the greeting card section listening to singing cards. Because apparently those are fascinating to a two year old.
Conclusion? I’m not taking her shopping again. Like ever. Which I have said to my husband on numerous occasions. And then I venture out with her again only to have the cycle repeat itself. I will never learn.
Enter online shopping. Yes I know it is not a new concept, but I used to steer clear. I love shopping in a brick and mortar store. Wandering through racks of clothing, home decor, you name it, makes me happy. Recently though I have come to realize that at this stage of my life, online shopping is the way to go. Not only can I spare myself the agony of shopping with my toddler (or any of my children for that matter), but it can be done in the comfort of my own home. No fighting crowds, no cranky shoppers, and no waiting in line. Online shopping also helps me with my unfortunate inability to make decisions. With online shopping I don’t feel rushed. I can prolong my decision until the product is sold out. Yes, that has happened to me. Many times. Like I said, I am horrible at decision making.
In honor of my light-bulb moment, here is a roundup of my favorite online shopping sites, most of which have free shipping and free returns. Many of these you may already use, but hopefully one or two will be new to you. Busy mamas, this is your ticket to a stress free shopping experience!
Clothing and Accessories
This one is a no brainer. Not only do they have free shipping and free returns, but they have unbeatable customer service. I had a zipper break on a diaper bag a year after I bought it and they replaced it no questions asked.
Athleta is part of the Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic Family so it is free shipping on $50 or more. The store is a bit on the spendy side, so I often wait until they have a 20% promo code a few times a year. However, their clothes are good quality and comfy. Did I mention they are super cute too? Athleta kicks the whole workout gear and casual “mom uniform” up a notch!
If you haven’t tried Zappos – you should! I have several friends who didn’t know about this one. I have used Zappos mostly for shoes, but they also sell handbags, clothing, accessories and more. Once you start shopping with them more frequently they will upgrade your shipping status to free two day shipping. Zappos also has free returns, which makes it easy to order multiple sizes of shoes or clothing.
Baublebar has basic and trendy jewelry pieces. With a variety of price points you are bound to find something that fits your needs and budget. Free shipping and free returns!
REI has free standard shipping for orders over $50. My husband loves this outdoor store. It is probably the one and only store he could spend hours wandering around. We have always had outstanding customer service here as well.
Sephora offers free shipping over $50 (which is so easy to do!) and free returns with their prepaid return shipping label. Never run out of beauty products again!
Let’s face it. Shopping online at Target is just not as fun as shopping in the store. I could spend hours there. As a matter of fact I did just recently. Not because I wanted to, but because I was shopping with my two year old. By the time we left I was exhausted, and no longer needed to work out that day! In a pinch though, Target makes it fairly easy to shop online. They don’t always have free shipping, but do run promotions throughout the year.
Everyone knows about the benefits of Amazon Prime, but what you may not know is that in a handful of larger cities, Amazon Prime Now has grocery delivery through various grocery stores. If you live in the Portland area, you can order groceries from New Seasons. Once you have ordered you chose a 2 hour delivery window. Your personal shopper will stay in touch with you via text while they are shopping to let you know if anything is out of stock, or if any items need to be substituted. It is not something I use every week, but it has definitely been a lifesaver for our family on several occasions.
Costco also recently started grocery delivery in multiple locations. I haven’t tried it so would love to hear from anyone who has! I actually don’t mind shopping at Costco with my little one as long as it is the only errand we run for the day. As you can see from the picture below, when she decides to stay in the cart, she is fairly amused by rearranging my groceries.
I would love to hear your top tips on shopping with little ones or your favorite placed to shop online! Despite the chaos of shopping with a toddler, I am really trying to appreciate the stage of life I’m in right now…I know this will all fly by, and one day I will look back and wish that I had my little sidekick with me when I stroll into Nordstrom or Target. Maybe…