- Planning your route is essential-- What is the quickest route with the least amount of travel between stops? Will you have frozen goods that will need refrigeration? How many drive-thrus can you use (banking, pharmacy, etc.)? How many times will you have to get the kids OUT of the car? For example, sometimes I plan to hit the library before it opens because their drop-box is open. Otherwise, I have to go INSIDE to drop things off; this way, kids stay in their car seats.
- Timing-- When do your kids need naps? Meals? Errands are NOT fun when you have tired, hungry, and grumpy kids.
- Have your bag well packed/organized-- Have your grocery list written in order of the store with any coupons paper-clipped to it. If you have packages to send or deposits to make, have everything filled out ahead of time so you are not trying to fill out essential paperwork while your little ones are standing next to you in line. Does the grocery store give out free cookies for kids (most do by the way if you ask...)? Bring wipes to clean messy faces and water to drink. Always pack emergency snacks for your littlest one so you can actually finish the grocery shopping... but wait to give them until he/she starts getting antsy in the cart.
- Make the car ride fun-- I live in New Hampshire, in which most errands take at least 10-20 minutes each way in the car. If it's over 20 minutes of driving, my 5 year old loves books on CD. When we are staying around town I play a variety of car games with them (I will post more on these later!) and we listen to nursery rhymes, kids music, and the classical channel.
Rule #300- Think like a Boy Scout: Be Prepared. When I have a ton of errands to do, I usually prep everything the night before so it's easy to sweep them all out the door!