What to do when you HAVE to take the kids to the grocery store
Kids in the Grocery Store…Probably brings up a mixture of emotions. Perhaps dread. Perhaps excitement, maybe if it’s your first trip to the store with your new baby (or your first trip out of the house with baby!). I have certainly felt many emotions on the spectrum between dread and excitement, depending on the situation surrounding each grocery trip!
I generally have 1 or 2 kids with me when I head to the grocery store. My goal is to take a few kids with me as possible, as it usually doesn’t work out in my schedule each week to go alone. That would be my ideal…but by the time 9 pm rolls around and all the kids are asleep, I’d rather crash into bed than head to the grocery store.
I’ve become quite adept at navigating the aisles with the giant car carts, while my 3 year old “drives” us around, and the baby watching the lights on the ceiling pass by. I’ve also learned a few tricks to make the shopping experience more palatable when I have all 4 kids with me.
1. Set expectations and rules before you go into the store. “If it’s not on the list, then we aren’t buying it.” “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.” “Remember…here are the 2 things you are responsible for getting into the cart.”
2. Tiny kids — These would be 2-4 year olds who ride inside the cart. Because they are riding with the groceries, make it their job to “guard” the groceries. Play on whatever superhero or princess they happen to be into and make it a fun way for them to take care of what’s in the cart. Also, have a snack ready in your purse…as they might get hungry looking at all the snacks and food as you wheel through the store.
3. Small and medium kids — These guys are too big to ride in the cart, but old enough to stick with you…but also spontaneous enough to wander right in front of your cart, just in time for you to “clip their ankles”…ouch! With my older kids (5-7 yo), I play the “ducks game” with the boys, where I’m the mother duck and the 3 big boys are my ducks who have to follow behind me. I can hear them walking behind me, so I don’t have to worry about clipping their little ankles, or them getting in the way of other people and their carts. I also give each kid 2 items from my list that they are responsible for making sure it gets into the cart. This helps them pay attention to where we are in the store, so we don’t miss their item and have to go back for it. These 2 games generally keep them occupied, out of trouble and out of the way of other shoppers when we are in the store.
4. Big kids — Older kids who can venture out on their own into the store can be very helpful. Ask them to help you find everything on the list with a “divide and conquer” approach. Also, ask for their assistance when you realize you forgot something on your list when you are standing in the checkout line.
I’d love to hear from you…what are your favorite ways to get through the grocery store with your kids in tow…without losing your mind?!?
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