Helpful Tips for Grocery Shopping with Small Children
Do you stress out at the thought of running errands with a car full of small kids?
Okay, so you completed the million things you need to do before leaving the house with kids, now it’s on to actually getting some shit done. The anxiety strikes right? Keep your cool because I got some tips, tricks, and hacks that will help you stay in control while you need to get some serious mommy stuff done.
Tips for Grocery Shopping (and keeping your sanity) with your young children!
- On a day I need to take the kiddos with me for errand-running, I always try to get out of the house right after breakfast (if it’s a shorter trip) or right after nap time and a quick snack (if it’s going to be a longer job). Keeping them fed and well slept is going to reduce your chances of an unnecessary meltdown in public.
- Always always park near the shopping cart corral! This is your key to a quick get in and out of the car.
- Pack/keep special snacks and treats your children don’t normally get. Think: Pez Dispenser *if age appropriate*. It’s distracting, quiet and time consuming. This might help you leverage back some control in an other wise very loud or embarrassing moment of terror.
- Before you leave the house and even while you are driving in the car, continue explaining and talking about what you and your kiddos are doing. Keep them interested and interactive. Children love to help and offering them a chance to do so can empower them. 🙂
At the house, “Can you help me find your shoes so we can go to the store?”
In the car, “Will you be mommy’s little helper at the store today?”
Shopping at the store,”We need to get bananas, do you see any around us?”
- Do you have two small children close in age? Mine are 18 months apart in age. I had the hardest time getting all the groceries I needed when I had to put my 1.5 year old in the seat of the cart and my youngest still needed to be carried in his car seat. I purchased this shopping cart hammock that made grocery shopping with my children so much easier. It allowed me a way to keep both small children within a regular sized car and also gave me enough room to do larger shopping trips when needed. I totally recommend getting a Binxy Baby Hammock if you have more than one small child – it helped me immensely!
- At this point in my mothering life, I have a toddler and a baby. I now keep my toddler within the actual shopping cart (he helps stack up the groceries!) and my younger son is now big enough to sit in the shopping cart seat. I currently avoid using those larger shopping carts that are geared towards children because I have a runner! I will only use those types of shopping carts if I have another adult with me.
- Wait…Have another adult with you? Wha? I know that sounds weird but let’s say your toddler runs out of your racing car cart and you have to either a.) haul ass with the shopping cart to capture back your child b.) ditch your younger kiddo momentarily while you retrieve the runner. Neither option is very safe obviously and that is why I won’t use them unless I have another adult present. Occasionally I will ask a friend or close relative if they would like to accompany us to the grocery store (maybe they need some things too?) and an extra pair of eyes and hands are always great. So – Ask someone to come along and help you out when you need to run around for some errands! They can help distract, chase, or wrangle when needed.
- If possible, make the occasional grocery shopping trip a family thing! Hit up the park after you shop (and use that as incentive during the trip) or get them excited for a family movie night and grab a Redbox before you leave the store! A little incentive can go a long way with anyone right?
- Visit the FISHIES if you are at a store with that type of department! Make it a special little stop when you visit here to keep the little one’s interested and excited. This is where I took the photos for this post!
- Most larger grocery stores will offer a free cookie to your children from their bakery department or even a free balloon for the store’s floral department. These little stops are other good choices when you need your child to remain patient throughout a shopping trip. You can decide whether these “little stops” are at the beginning, during, or the end of your shopping experience based on your parenting style. (Cookie = Good Trip or Good Trip = Cookie) Switch them around and see what works with your kids.
- Okay lastly, some parents might totally disagree with me on this one. However, some errands have to get done no matter what type of mood your child might be in. For those totally weird moments when you need your little one to quite frankly, just ‘sit down and shut up’ – I offer my cellphone. Yep, I said it. I will use my cellphone and it’s mesmerizing, all-distracting energies to my advantage and turn on some Magic School Bus. PBSKids and YouTube Kids are great little apps to have on hand when you’re in a moment like this. Honestly sometimes certain things need to get accomplished and handing over my favorite toy to get said things done is just fine in my mommy book.
Let’s say that you actually experience the most embarrassing moments of your life during one of these trips, and your child is bringing life to the whole “Walmart Stereo-type” thing…. You might worry about what all the other people are thinking, maybe feel like they are watching your every move and judging you based on your reaction to your child’s tantrum but do you know what?
What I have done in the few instances that my children have acted out in public – and it will happen sooner or later – I just dealt with it as you would at home. Whether you choose to ignore the fits, enforce discipline with spanking or time-outs, or attempt to sit and talk it out with your child- be consistent in the way you deal with these situations. Any parent in the view of your embarrassment will understand because they HAVE been there or WILL be and honestly we all were loud, unpredictable little people at some point in our lives and it happens because that’s what life is. Hopefully, these tips might help you when your moment arrives and might save you in a few future situations. 🙂
Did I suggest anything that makes grocery shopping with children seem a little less scary? Maybe I completely overlooked something that works for you and your errand-running tips….
Let me know in the comments below, myself and other readers would love to know your parenting hacks for grocery shopping with your children!