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5 Tips for Grocery Shopping With Kids

As a stay at home mom, grocery shopping falls in my lap, primarily. I’m the cook and meal planner of the family, which means I HAVE to be the one to go to the grocery store.

Because my husband works a lot of hours, I don’t get a lot of free time to do things without my kids, and when I do, I don’t want to spend my free time at the grocery store. That really only leaves me one option — bring them with me.

grocery shopping, kids

A lot of people recommend doing your grocery shopping without the kids. Of course that’s a great idea, but if you don’t have that option, you probably need a few tips to make the process a little easier. I’m here to help with 5 tips for grocery shopping with your kids!

1. Have a plan. I keep a running list of grocery needs on our refrigerator. I’ve tried using apps on my phone, but we always go back to pen and paper. I try to buy only the things on my list and I want to get everything I need as quickly as possible. For that reason, I like to go to grocery stores where I know exactly where everything is. It just makes whole process faster.

2. Give them something to look forward to. Whenever we pull in to the Tom Thumb parking lot, my boys know they will get to “drive the car” while we shop and they get crazy excited! It makes the chore of grocery shopping seem like a fun adventure, for them.

At Walmart, they know the first thing we’re going to get is an individual applesauce packet for each of them to eat as we go through the store. They love it and it helps that it’s now just part of our routine.

3. Make sure they’re rested. The last thing you need is to strap a couple of tired and cranky kids in to the cart while you go up and down each aisle of the grocery store, grabbing everything you need, while they whine and cry. It really is just a recipe for disaster and everyone leaves miserable.

4. Turn them in to helpers as soon as you can. Make conversations with your kids as you go through the store. Talk to them about all of the different foods. As they get older, you can ask them to put things in the cart for you.

My three year old loves to help me unload groceries from the cart on to the conveyor belt at the register. He feels special because he’s such a big helper for me and he loves to hear me tell him what a good job he’s doing. Don’t they all love hearing that?!

5. Practice Makes Perfect. The first time I took my toddler and newborn sons to the grocery store, there was fit throwing, crying, screaming, and sweating. I was definitely the one sweating and my boys might not have been the only ones crying. It was a miserable experience but I knew I couldn’t give up.

That was two years ago and we’ve become a better grocery shopping team somewhere along the way.

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had our bad days, too. I’ve been lucky enough to have never had to leave a cart full of groceries while I ran out of the store, but I have had several shopping trips cut short and had my husband pick up my few remaining items on his way home.

Thankfully, if all of that fails, there’s always the option to do your grocery shopping from home. 🙂

What other tips could you offer for making grocery shopping with kids easier?

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6 Responses to 5 Tips for Grocery Shopping With Kids

  1. Arena February 5, 2013 at 10:16 am #

    Great tips! I really needed this… I only have one son, but I DREAD taking him to the grocery store. I stretch everything so I can wait to shop on the weekends when my husband is home, LOL.

  2. Heather
    Heather February 5, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    Snacks, snacks and more snacks. I see your’s with lollipops and they have helped us a gazillion times. I grocery shop at Super Target a lot because they can look forward to the bakery cookie at the end (and sometimes the bakery people are nice enough to offer me one too!)

  3. Heather Halliday February 5, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    I ALWAYS bring lots of snacks and treats or more recently started letting them pick out an apple or pear and eat that (takes them awhile to eat). Having a list is a must! Another important factor is time of day, going in the morning or right after nap is best for us, barely anyone there, never go on the weekend!

  4. Mandy February 5, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    If I am shopping with both kids, I wear the little one in a carrier. If we are at Kroger, they have kid sized shopping carts. I let the 3yr old push that cart and put all the groceries in it. Then we go to the self check lane and I let him unload, scan, and bag all the groceries (well maybe not eggs. He feels so proud that he is being such a great helper! And thanks for the tip about the cookie at Target 🙂

  5. Lauren February 7, 2013 at 7:32 am #

    Isn’t it sad that I now pick my grocery stores based on the carts they have? Kroger has the best-like Tom Thumb they have the little cars attached to the front, but they have so few that they are hardly ever available! And Super Taget’s carts are great, but their straps are always broken…so my 1 yr old will fall off! That leaves me with trusty old (and EXPENSIVE) Albertsons because they have the best selection of kids carts! Ugh! Even though it is not MY first choice to buy food, the carts keep the kids happy, so I usually end up there!

    Great tips! I’ll definitely be bringing more snacks!

  6. Kim Griffith February 7, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    I love the big Whole Foods on Park Lane/Greenville — my daughter is older now, but for toddlers they have a fleet of those 2-seater kids carts that hold plenty of groceries, and they offer free fruit for kids, and it has a fun atmosphere!

    The greatest thing I just discovered is the Personal Shopping service — very easy and affordable, plus this location gives 8 weeks complimentary personal shopping for moms with brand new babies!!

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