Grocery shopping with kids can be a challenging experience, but there are ways to make it more manageable. Here are a few ways to turn a chore into a fun family activity.
Raise your hand if your child has ever had a meltdown in the grocery store. *Slowly raises both hands.* If your kids haven’t, I’m sure you’ve seen a child or two kick, scream, cry, or do a combination of all three while you’ve tried to pick up your weekly staples.
At some point or another, every mom will experience a time when she’ll need to take her kids with her to the grocery store. And truthfully, it may not always be a pleasant experience.
Can I share a little secret with you all? I have a love/hate relationship with grocery shopping with my kids. From meltdowns over “fun baskets” to needing to take bathroom breaks every five minutes, a quick grocery trip can easily turn into an hour-long experience. I’ll forever be grateful for the pandemic normalizing grocery delivery and grocery pickup services.
But of course, life doesn’t always go as we wish, and there are many times that I’ll need to head to the grocery store with them in tow. I’ve learned that proper planning and preparation are key.
8 Tips for Making Grocery Shopping with Kids a Breeze
Taking your kids grocery shopping with you can teach them a few life skills such as:
- Math and budgeting
- Vocabulary and social skills
- Color, letter, and number recognition
- Read and write
However, managing grocery shopping with kids can be a challenging task. But with a little planning and patience, you can make it a positive experience for everyone involved.
Here are a few things you can do to make the experience smoother:
Plan your trip
Going grocery shopping without a plan is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when grocery shopping with kids in tow. Before you head to the store, meal plan and then make a list of what you need to buy. This will help you stay focused and avoid any unnecessary trips back to the store and wandering around the store for too long. You can even involve your children in creating the list.
Kids thrive when they know what to expect and what their parents expect of them. Have a talk with your kids before you go to the store. Explain that you are going to buy groceries, and discuss what behavior you expect from them. Be clear about any rules or expectations you have.
Choose the right time
Try to go grocery shopping when your children are well-rested and fed. Avoid going when they are hungry or tired, as this can make them more difficult to manage. This will make it easier for them to behave and stay calm while you shop.
Involve your children
Kids love being helpful. Give your children small tasks to do while you shop, such as picking out fruits or vegetables or placing items in the cart. This can help keep them occupied and engaged.
Bring snacks and toys
If you’re unable to feed the kids before you head into the grocery store, pack a few snacks and toys to keep your children occupied while you shop. This can help prevent meltdowns and make the experience more enjoyable for everyone. It’ll also help you save money since you’re not impulse buying to satisfy the kids.
Park Next to the Cart Return
Finding a close parking space may seem like the most logical thing to do when you’re grocery shopping with kids. But, it’s actually not. I learned early on to park as close to the cart return as possible. That way you can get your kids out of the car and straight in the cart before heading into the store. If your child is still in a stroller, consider using a shopping cart cover to keep them clean and comfortable while you shop. Once you’re done with your trip, you can safely return the cart after the kids are back settled in.
Reward good behavior
There’s nothing wrong with rewarding good behavior. If your children behave well while you are shopping, consider rewarding them with a small treat or toy once you have finished. Our grocery store offers a free cookie to kids, so I typically start shopping at the opposite end of the store. If the kids behave, we’ll grab a cookie on our way out.
Keep a positive attitude and try to make grocery shopping a fun experience for your children. This will help them associate grocery shopping with a positive experience and make future trips easier.
How to stay safe when grocery shopping with kids?
First and foremost, always buckle your kids in if they are riding in the shopping cart. Never let them stand in the cart or on the front, back, or side because it could potentially tip over. Be sure to always have your eyes on your kids whether they are in or out of the cart. Discuss with your kids beforehand what they should do if they happen to get away from you.
What to do if my kid has a meltdown in the grocery store?
Meltdowns are bound to happen, but having the plan to handle a meltdown beforehand is key. If your child has a meltdown while you’re in a store, it’s important that you remain calm. Get down to their level and acknowledge their feelings. Then reassure them that once you finish grocery shopping they can finish playing, have a snack, or accomplish whatever they may have been trying to do.
Remember, it’s okay if you need to cut your grocery trip short. Give yourself some grace and try again next time. Every parent has experienced this at least once so know that you are not alone.
Grocery shopping with kids can be a rewarding experience for the entire family. Planning and preparing in advance, getting the kids involved, and making sure that they are well-rested is the secret to having a successful trip.
Do you enjoy grocery shopping with your kids? How do you make grocery shopping more manageable and enjoyable for the entire family?