Do the words “Grocery Shopping With Kids” strike terror in your heart or make you groan inside at the thought of trooping through the store with kids in tow? If so, I HEAR YOU! We had 4 little kids once upon a time! 😉 I have a few tips I’d like to share with you that might make your grocery shopping adventures go a little more smoothly.
#1.) If there are any relatives that live close by and would love to spend time with your kids, see how they feel about watching the kids while you shop. Lots of grandparents would jump at the thought of a little more grandchildren time. 😉 But that isn’t possible for all moms (that wasn’t an option for us) so let’s talk about things to do in the store when the kids are with you.
#2.) Make your grocery list ahead of time! Trying to “wing it” when buying groceries is a feat unto itself, let alone trying to remember what all goes into a Reuben casserole while keeping track of the little ones! A list is great for helping you remember what you need to pick up yet.
#3.) If your child is a baby, go at nap time. Tuck them into their car seat and hopefully they will fall asleep on the ride to the store. With car seats nowadays just popping off the base, you can carry a sleeping baby into a store and put them in a shopping cart where they will hopefully snooze while you buy food. (Taking a tired toddler to the grocery store is NOT recommended!)
#4.) Teach your kids from a baby on up to ride in the shopping cart. If that’s the way you’ve always done it, that is what they will expect each time you go shopping. Yes, I know they will eventually “graduate” to walking along with you, but save that time for when you have to! Lol The first time you take them out of the shopping cart and let them walk, will be the last time they will want to sit in the cart. 😉
#5.) Look for a certain color. Depending on the age of your child, there are different ways to play this game. Maybe today is the day for RED and you have your child point out things that are red. Or you start with one color and as they find that color, you move on to another color. For kids that are a little older, you can have them find some of several colors in every row of the grocery store. Or how about finding 10 red things before moving on to blue. You can add your own little twist to this activity however you’d like to play it. One example might be asking, “Can you find a red pepper?”
#6.) Look for numbers. Start with the number 1 and after they find it, move on to 2, then 3, etc. It’s a great way to practice recognizing numbers. You can go as high as your child can and then start over. You might be able to take them to the next higher number by pointing it out to them. The big signs hanging up to show you what is in each aisle might be helpful along with price tags.
#7.) Looking for the letters in the Alphabet. This is along the same idea as finding numbers in order. Begin with the letter A and as each letter is found, they can move on to look for the next letter. This can help with letter recognition and also help kids remember what order the letters of the alphabet go in. Letters are EVERYWHERE in a grocery store! 😉 Finding Q, X and Z might prove interesting! Looking at the picture above, I made it all the way to the letter J! 🙂
#8.) Getting kids interested in what you are buying can make the trip more interesting to them. For instance if you pick up a box of spaghetti, you might say “Now what else do you think we need in order to make spaghetti for supper tonight?” If they don’t know already, they will learn when you show them what else you need. Placing the ingredients for a meal close together in the cart can also reinforce what things go together. I know, sometimes you are just glad to get the items IN the cart, let alone together! 🙂
#9.) Let the kids help with making the decisions about what to buy. “We need to buy some apples today. What color of apples do you think we should get?” Be careful asking things like “What should we buy today?” because that can leave you wide open for some suggestions you might not want to purchase! LOL Asking what color or flavor of a particular item might be a better idea. 😉
“Which flavor of juice should we try this week?” could work. You can leave that question more open or narrow it down more to “Apple juice or orange juice?”
#10.) Teach your kids about picking out nice produce and let them suggest which ones to buy from what you tell them. For example, maybe you like to buy bananas that are a little more ripe, so you would show them the difference between yellow bananas and bananas that are too green yet.
#11.) Kids that are a little older can help with finding the right items you are looking for. Perhaps you buy a certain brand of dog food, but you want to buy the Lamb & Rice instead of the Chicken flavor. Show them where on the package to look to find the right kind you want to purchase.
#12.) This idea takes a little preparation ahead of time, but you can give your kids a scavenger hunt for inside the grocery store. For kids that can read, you can write the words. For younger kids, you can draw a picture. Ideas for the scavenger hunt could be an apple, a banana (any produce works), a box of crackers, a box of cereal, milk, a magazine, toilet paper, etc. The idea would be for the kids to help each other find all the items and cross them off their list. I would tell them they have to stay with you as they look for the items! No running off across the store!
#13.) Of course, there’s the old “If you are good in the store, you can have a special treat when we are done.” The treat doesn’t have to be something you buy. It could be they get to stay up an extra 15 minutes or you’ll read an extra chapter in the book you are sharing.
#14.) Helping to take things from the cart and lay them nicely on the conveyor belt at the checkout could be another fun thing to do, but you be the judge if that is more help than you need! Haha! Kids that are a bit older can really be a help with that.
#15.) Kids generally act up or get grumpy at the grocery store because they get bored with shopping, they are too tired or they get hungry. Some stores have places where they have a free snack available for kids. If your store doesn’t do that, you might want to try having some fruit snacks or little boxes raisins stashed in your purse to bring out if you need them.
While grocery shopping with kids might never be your favorite thing to do, I hope some of these ideas might make it a little easier for everyone involved! From one mom who took 4 kids to the grocery store by herself regularly to each mom facing this today, you’ve got this! You are awesome and you will muddle through! Hugs to you! 🙂