10 Tricks to make grocery shopping with kids easier!
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We have all been there. You are just trying to pick up a few things at the grocery store and the next thing you know all hell has broken loose. Your kids are crying, whining, begging for candy or wandering off. In no time, a quick trip to the store can become a nightmare! Here are 10 tips to make your store trips a little more tolerable and a little less stressful. Keep in mind we all parent differently and these tips may or may not apply to you.
Add your own great grocery shopping tips in the comments below!
This one is important. Make sure they’ve gone to the bathroom, had a snack (or have one packed) and it’s not nap time. All of those things would make anyone cranky but especially a little one who doesn’t feel like sitting in a shopping cart!
2. Get them involved in helping
Have them help read the list and cross off items if they are old enough. If not, ask them to pick up things from the shelves or to hold your coupons. Make them feel engaged and important. Children with responsibilities will feel good about themselves and will be less likely to act out or have a fit. My 10 year old has learned how to select fruit and veggies (look for bruises and blemishes) and she even knows to check the dairy products to choose the one with the furthest expiration date!
3. Bring toys:
Allow your child to pack their own little bag for the outing. This can be a book bag, a small purse or even just a plastic bag filled with a few toys they chosen to bring. When they get to the store, allow them to play quietly with the toys as long as they stay quiet and act appropriately. I used to keep a small bag with a few toys that they were only allowed to have during outings and not at home.
4. Bring snacks
This is similar to #3, although you may not want to let them pack their own. However, you can use them as a bargaining tool and a reward. Plus, a kid who is eating can’t scream and cry nearly as efficiently!
5. Engage them in a game
Play a game at the store. For example, look for all of the things that start with “A” or count all of the bananas that you see in the produce section. For younger children, play “I see… (a yellow fruit)” which is an easy way to engage them. The game simply goes like this: You say what you see and then they tell you what they see. It sounds simple because it is but it works!
6. Keep it short
The bottom line is that small children have short attention spans so they may be unable to handle extended periods of time trapped in a cart. If you allow them to walk, you may buy yourself a few more minutes, but realistically, you will still need to hurry. That doesn’t mean rush because rushing can make everyone tense. Just know what you need and go in with a game plan. This may not be the best time to peruse the aisles slowly.
7. Have a list and a plan
This is what we were just talking about in #6. Know what you are getting, know where in the store it is and know how much of it you need. Be on the ball and ready to get in and get out! I’ve created a FREE printable Shopping List here!
8. Set rules and expectations
Your children should know the rules and expectations for the grocery store. Are they allowed to walk or do they need to stay in the cart? Are they allowed to help choose items or are they to keep their hands to themselves? It’s also helpful to promise a small reward at the end. For example, a small piece of candy or a special trip to the park afterward.
9. Promise them a small reward
The reward can be as simple as being allowed to eat the snack or play with the toy they brought. OR you can up the ante a bit telling them that they can choose the cereal you buy, for instance, if they behave.
10. Talk to them
This may seem obvious but it is sometimes easy to forget to talk to them when you’re busy comparing prices or crossing off items. Talk to them about anything: school, TV shows, movies, their favorite game, their friends, etc. Just talk to them and keep them engaged. It’s hard to do this at times but, if you try it, you’ll be amazed at the results.
Hopefully you try all or some of these tips. If you do, you are sure to see better behaved kids at the store every time and you will feel a lot less stressed.