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Surviving the Grocery Store When You're Not Alone

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When I was younger I used to dream of vacations to far off places, entire days spent at the spa or grand adventures with fascinating people. Now my grandest dream and ambition is to go to the grocery store by myself, to be able to read labels, compare brands and spend an indulgent amount of time in the magazine aisle catching up celebrity gossip and fashion. Alas the grocery store by myself will remain a far off dream for now but in the mean time I've come up with a few clever ways to make the grocery store less stressful with little ones in tow.


  • Feed everyone before you go. Everyone has made the mistake at one time or another of going to the grocery store hungry. You end up buying everything and none of it is very healthy or practical. I have a very budget conscious friend who claims that "$5 for a little something to eat before heading to the grocery store will save you $20 in impulse purchases." Obviously it's cheaper to eat at home but that's not always a reality. Making sure you and your kids are fed will cut down on unessecary purchases and whining (from all of you.)
  • Make visual shopping lists. When my daugther was younger I would cut and paste photos of the things we needed to buy from store circulars and put her in charge of finding them. It kept her distracted, busy and feeling important and gave her something to hold so she wasn't tearing ceareal boxes off the shelf.
  • Put older kids in charge of 'The List.' Now that my daugther is older, I put her in charge of checking off our list. She loves walking down the aisles putting little checks next to the items we've found and scolding me when I make a purchase that isn't on 'The List.' Need to keep your grocery shopping in check? Bring along my bossy seven year old.
  • Allow your child to pick between a few things. I'm so not on board with bribing kids with treats in order to get good behavior out of them, I'm not saying I'm above it, I'm just saying I'd rather avoid it. Give your kids choices on little things (strawberry or blueberry yogurt?) and they'll feel like an important and involved part of the process and in my experince are less likely to ask for forbidden treats later on since they got to pick out what they wanted from 'The List.'

Obviously every child is different and I'm sure I'll have to tweak and mold my strategy as my baby gets older, but these tips and tricks got me through some marathon grocery shopping trips with a toddler in tow.

Do you have any tricks of your own?

by on Mar. 29, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Replies (21-30):
Madelaine
by Member on Mar. 30, 2012 at 4:50 PM

great tips!

Kmakksmom
by on Mar. 30, 2012 at 8:11 PM

I think these tips are wonderful!  I have also asked my kids to help push to avoid running everywhere.  Now all my girls are really good about not running off or asking for anything.  My son is learning :)

MamaBear2cubs
by Bronze Member on Mar. 31, 2012 at 9:12 AM

When we take the kids we let my son help push the cart or hold some groceries to keep him close.

delanna6two
by Platinum Member on Mar. 31, 2012 at 11:16 AM

Patience, Patience and more....I usually get my youngest a snack or something to play with to her occupied...depends on which store we go to.

goddess99
by Michelle on Mar. 31, 2012 at 12:04 PM

If the store isn't busy I let my dd push the cart, I put her incharge of some of the list, I have her help unload the cart.  But usually she's at my mom's when I go grocery shopping =)

suziejax
by Member on Mar. 31, 2012 at 12:39 PM

exactly!

Quoting millerbunch:

i ask them to grab certain products.. 

also my 3 yo is still in the seat portion and he likes to draw on my list or whatever paper i have.. and i let him choose the flavors of yogurts he wants..


suziejax
by Member on Mar. 31, 2012 at 12:41 PM

One store in my city has little kid shopping carts that your little one can push around while you push yours and its just big enough to put a few things in.. I used to also use that as a way. I would have my dd help me and push her own cart along side of mommy and she felt so grown up at age 4 lol as she put an item I needed in her own big girl cart lol

suziejax
by Member on Mar. 31, 2012 at 12:41 PM

awww lol

Quoting MamaMandee:

My kids help with the menu planning so they know some of the things we need & help get them. My youngest is in charge of the list and yells things out (after I tell it what it says lol) and lets the other kids know what to grab & checks it off. 


MamaMandee
by on Mar. 31, 2012 at 2:09 PM

The store here in town has one & my daughter loves to push it around too .... and add things to it she thinks we should buy lol 

Quoting suziejax:

One store in my city has little kid shopping carts that your little one can push around while you push yours and its just big enough to put a few things in.. I used to also use that as a way. I would have my dd help me and push her own cart along side of mommy and she felt so grown up at age 4 lol as she put an item I needed in her own big girl cart lol


MamaMandee
by on Mar. 31, 2012 at 2:10 PM

I will stop by the bakery for a free cookie for them or I pack a small snack in my purse. 

Quoting Wish2Be:

 Sometimes I buy my little one a snack to eat while we shop. It works most of the time....but I worry that this will be a bad habit down the road.


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