Any parent can relate. It’s 4pm you check the fridge/freezer and there’s nothing to make for dinner. Either your spouse is still at work or non-existent, but you need to go to the grocery store – kids in tow. Here are this Mom’s practical tips for grocery shopping with kids and make sure everyone gets out alive.
1. Make a list!
And stick to it. Heck, even organize it by department if you can. Nothing is more frustrating then running back and forth through the store trying to remember everything you need. This way you can strategically avoid iles with not-so-great snacks and treats, that may fuel a confrontation with your kid when they are denied them.
2. Buy only what you need.
Don’t be too proud, get in, get what you need and get out. Even if its only a weeks worth of food. No need to be a hero. We Moms show our superhero abilities enough already without adding “Can buy a months worth of groceries with model children in tow” to the list as well. Chances are you will have some sort of “break” in the near future – whether it be a school day, or a friend comes by, or you simply need time to find a reliable sitter – you can always go back to the store and finish up getting what you need sans kiddos.
I’m a Mom of 2 and even with just one in school and one home with me I can shop much more efficiently. I know this may seem redundant to some – going to the store multiple times – but anyone who knows how difficult it is to wrangle multiple children in a grocery store, will hear me loud and clear.
3. Have them help.
I know what you’re thinking. Way to prolong the trip. But hear me out. At first this may seem counter productive since kids take F.O.R.E.V.E.R. to do stuff but take it from someone who stuck it out and took the time to teach her kids about our shopping habits. At first, it was frustrating having to explain why we buy what brand we do and how to make sure you’re picking out quality produce or not to grab the squished bread loaf. Now, I can tell one of my kids to grab the peanut butter from down the isle while I’m grabbing cereal, or ask them to grab 4 nice apples while I grab lettuce, and they know how. Obviously, this works best with at least one older child but it’s never too early to start teaching them. It pays off, trust me. You’re saving time and keeping them busy while teaching them an important life skill. Winning all around.
4. Offer a reward.
Now, I want to be clear that I’m not endorsing bribery hear – but more of a training tool. The reward doesn’t need to be in the form of food (and it actually shouldn’t), rather extra minutes for playtime outside before bed, or a tangible object like a sticker. You obviously know your kids better than anyone else, so use what works for them. Kids are surprisingly pretty simple and generally, if you’re good to them they will be good to you. After a while I started only giving a reward after a big or hectic shopping trip, but by then the kids were so used to keeping it together when we were in a store, that the issue started to resolve itself.
Children are people too, they have good days and they have bad days. These tips will help you, but not always prevent your kids from taking-off and having tantrums. It’s more or less a guide, that has been helping me to keep my kids in check, while fulfilling my household duties as a solo parent. Adapt as you see fit, and most of all just try to stay calm. Kids feed off of us like little energy thieves and if Mom is stressed – everyone is stressed!
Have any tips on how to grocery shop with kids? What tactics do you use to ensure a smooth shopping experience? Let us know in the comments!
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