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Sane Shopping When Your Toddler's in Tow

Want to get through your grocery list without a meltdown from an antsy toddler?

Pack a snack. Choose foods that take a while to eat (like apples, animal crackers, string cheese, or bagels). He'll be less likely to beg for every other tasty-looking treat along the way.

Take along some stickers. He'll love to decorate the canned goods, cardboard pasta boxes, and milk jugs you toss into the cart.

Give him a job. He can draw pictures of what you need to buy, cross things off your list, put and sort food in the cart, and match coupons (or magazine pictures) with the actual foods.

Turn on the tunes. Bring a headset and stories or songs on tape and let him rock out while you shop.

Play thinking games. Ask: How many people will be wearing brown shoes? How many lights are on the ceiling? How many B's do you see?

Let him drive. Or at least let him think he is. Tell him he's in charge of pushing and parking the cart  -- just walk behind and guide it.