Are you wondering how you can run errands while keeping your kids in the car? We’ll dive into how you can be more productive, while not having to deal so much with car seat buckles!
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Why Keep the Kids in the Car?
As a mom to three children in reverse-facing car seats, I can tell you that buckling can be a huge pain. Now, take that same annoyance, tack on some lousy weather, and a whole boatload of errands, and we’re just where no one wants to be…right?
Just to be clear, the hassle of buckling and unbuckling the seatbelts, really has nothing to do with the kids themselves. Rather, it’s just trying to get things done somewhat quickly while having to tackle all of those straps!
Errands from the Driver’s Seat
That’s why I try to run as many errands as possible without getting any kids out of the car!
Thanks to a little modern technology and really, just the way things are now, this is very possible in a lot of places.
(I mean, I honestly have no idea how my grandmother took four kids under the age of five to the grocery store in 1960.)
Our family always has a big errand day at least once a month, when we do our monthly grocery shopping. We hit Walmart, Target, and the local grocery store…all without getting out of the car.
I let the kids grab a couple of toys and books before leaving the house, strap those kids in, and we’re on our way!
With three kids in car seats, I really try to run as many errands as I can without taking them out of the car each time.
(Don’t worry! I do actually expose my kids to stores…I’m just strategic about when that is…and it’s not when we have a whole lot to get done!)
So, I’ve rounded up a list of nine errands you can get done, right from your front seat!
Of course. The always-necessary mom drink. You can grab coffee at your Starbucks or Dunkin’ drive thru! Or support a local coffee shop! I love starting off a day of errands with this bonus stop!
2. Grocery Pick Up
This huge blessing of a service started picking up popularity just as I was pregnant with my second, when my daughter was only a year old. I was so grateful that I could just order my groceries online, and just sit in my car and wait for them.
This is now just how we do groceries, most of the time! We do a big monthly order, and it saves me so much time from actually running into the store!
Now, I’ve always enjoyed grocery shopping and walking around the store. But it’s a whole different ball of wax with three small kids.
And when they were babies? There just wasn’t room for groceries with the baby carrier in the shopping cart and the toddler in the seat!
An added bonus to ordering groceries online is budgeting: it’s a lot harder to impulse buy on the shopping app!
3. Target Drive Up
Lucky for me (or maybe lucky for Target?) I live right down the street from a Target. I use their Drive Up service regularly!
As I mentioned, I do a large grocery order monthly. I often fill in the gaps of perishables with Target orders.
What’s different about the Target Drive Up, compared to Walmart or my grocery store’s pick up, is that I don’t have to reserve a time frame. I’ll add things to my cart on the Target app. Then, a few hours before I want to pick it up, I put the order through.
It’s generally ready in two hours of ordering, which is amazing. And I love that I can get things other than basic groceries through the app!
I’m really not a boomer! But the bank usually does have a drive-thru, if you need their services! Don’t forget that many banks have a drive-thru ATM, as well!
5. Drive Thrus
I have to say…I really do not prefer the spelling of drive-thru. I really wish it was spelled correctly.
Anyhow, we can’t forget about the restaurants that will actually hand hot food over to us through our car window.
I know it’s not always the best food. But it is hot. And we just need to roll down our window. So there’s that.
6. Curbside (When Offered)
Ever since the pandemic, a ton of stores began offering curbside pickup. Lots of stores! Ones you probably hadn’t considered like Joann Fabrics, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Walgreens, better quality restaurants…
You can order online, and then they will bring your order to the car when you get there!
7. Curbside (When It Isn’t Offered)
Some places don’t advertise curbside pickup. But, they will often help you out, anyway. Especially if you’re really nice, mention your boatload of small kids, and make it as easy as possible on the employee.
For example, I ordered a cake from a local bakery. They didn’t advertise curbside pickup, so I was planning to bring my three tiny ones into the bakery with me.
However, by the time we got there, two of the three were crying from their car seats (we were approaching nap time), and it was pouring rain.
Now, the cake had been ordered and paid for. I literally just needed to get it from the shop into my car.
I’m not generally one to ask for help, but this was an instance where I thought I’d try.
I parked right up next to that bakery, called them, and asked if they could bring it out to me. Thankfully, they were happy to accommodate.
The kind lady just walked out from behind the counter, out the door and handed it right off to me in my car. (And she didn’t get soaked from the rain, since I parked by the overhang.) I don’t think she really understood how she saved me a solid 20-30 minutes and a tantrum or two by allowing me to keep my kids in the car.
Sometimes, asking for a little help can make all the difference! Especially if you make it easy to say yes!
I actually didn’t understand the need for a drive-thru at a pharmacy until I had kids. And then I really understood it when I had a sick kid who had just been sitting at the doctors for way too long and needed meds asap!
9. Target with Starbucks
This is a new one for me. I had heard it was coming.
I’m the worst when it comes to updating apps on my phone. But I finally was prompted enough times to update my Target app, so I did.
When I went to go pick up my order, I had this incredible prompt on my screen:
You can actually pick up a Starbucks drink while grabbing your Target order!
I’ve had friends disagree with me about using pick-up services, particularly at places like Walmart, Target and the grocery store. They feel badly about making people bring their groceries to them.
And I completely understand that. I don’t like to inconvenience other people at all.
However, there are people at these larger stores who are assigned to the pick-up service. All day long, that is their job. Just like the person sitting at the drive-thru is running the drive-thru during their shift.
It’s literally their job. If they’re not bringing you your groceries because you feel badly, they’re definitely still bringing them out to other moms.
These stores employ a lot more people because they have these services. And that’s a good thing!
This is probably a hot take, but we really do live in the best of times. We are so blessed to have so many modern conveniences. As mothers of young children, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking advantage of them!
You really can accomplish a lot by keeping the kids in the car as you run your errands!
So, strap those kids in, throw on your favorite podcast and grab some coffee and groceries!