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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 (41-50):
KristinRox
by on Mar. 31, 2012 at 9:17 PM

OUr grocery store has shopping cars that are made in different shapes for kids. One looks like a bus, one looks like a cab.. one looks like a fire truck. The kids love those and have fun pretending to drive. 

I wish they had mini carts though.. the kids would totally love them. 

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


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Wish2Be
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A mommy to the best little boy in the world !
Friday at 10:01 PM
by on Apr. 2, 2012 at 8:37 AM

 Our Publix has that too ! DS really likes the veiw looking forward...he doesnt care too much about the steering wheel. :)

Quoting millerbunch:

our Krogers here has those "car"carts.. and my son loves "driving" it around the store..lol  it helps to put him in there, strap him in and give him a juice box and he loves being able to sit there and play with the steering wheel.

 

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Wish2Be
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A mommy to the best little boy in the world !
Friday at 10:01 PM
by on Apr. 2, 2012 at 8:38 AM

 

Quoting KristinRox:

We play games. Like find boxes that are green. Find things that are round. Or the abc game. First you find something that starts with A.. then B.. then C.. on and on and on. 

 I love this idea !

DS and I play guess the fruit or veggie in the produce section, but I love the boxes and ABC find game !

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Wish2Be
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A mommy to the best little boy in the world !
Friday at 10:01 PM
by on Apr. 2, 2012 at 8:38 AM

 

Quoting delanna6two:

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.

 I do this too ! My little one is 2 :)

CafeMom Tickers
Leelee1008
by Member on Apr. 2, 2012 at 8:42 AM

I have tried the eat before you go, still doesnt stop the impulus buying for us :(  

My tip, shop when the kids are in school( if that is applicable to you). If I take my older kids to the store with me, IO am spending a BUNCH more than I already wanted to. I take my Dh, he rushes me and thats not good either.

Leelee1008
by Member on Apr. 2, 2012 at 8:44 AM

I hated them carts with a passion. Not only were they very hard to push, but my kids would constantly unbuckle and climb out. LOL the mini carts were cute but not much better for us. they liked pushing them around, but they would get into cart races, and end up crashing into a display or even a person....... I leave the kids home LOL.

Quoting KristinRox:

OUr grocery store has shopping cars that are made in different shapes for kids. One looks like a bus, one looks like a cab.. one looks like a fire truck. The kids love those and have fun pretending to drive. 

I wish they had mini carts though.. the kids would totally love them. 

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



delanna6two
by Platinum Member on Apr. 2, 2012 at 9:07 AM

It does help sometime:)

Quoting Wish2Be:

 

Quoting delanna6two:

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.

 I do this too ! My little one is 2 :)


jessicasmom1
by Member on Apr. 2, 2012 at 10:04 AM

I totally agree never go shopping when hungry .. you will buy more! , and good tips 

momkaribg
by on Apr. 2, 2012 at 10:28 AM

 Great tips. I always try to just go by myself.

Bmat
by Bronze Member on Apr. 2, 2012 at 10:51 AM


I have something for them to do- a book, or a toy that they only get to play with while shopping.


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