*This post and picture was updated 10/24.
If you have children, you know that grocery shopping with them can be, um, adventurous to say the least. Our children obey very well and it is still exhausting by the end of the trip. They are tired, hungry, sad and happy. Sometimes they don't like the way their siblings are looking at them or what flavor Pop-Tart was put into the cart. Here are 10 tips for grocery shopping with children to hopefully make your grocery shopping trip less stressful.
From meal planning to the actual trip to Kroger's, there is a lot of thought involved with buying groceries. Don't go into this unprepared. Make a plan and tackle it head on.
10 Tips For Grocery Shopping With Children
Make Sure Everyone Is Fed Before You Go
You have heard that one before, right? Never go to the store on an empty stomach. The same is true for our little ones. If lunch time is at 12:00 and you are at the store at 11:30, your child will want everything they see. If they have a full stomach, you might get a few less "Mommy, can I have that?".
Play A Game Throughout the Store
Before you go, make up a game for your preschool child. "How many apples are we getting?" or " Name me three things that are red." Children love games. Keep them thinking and learning without even realizing it.
We work hard early on to instill no means no with our children. Sometimes they forget, but we try to stick with it. Before you even step foot into the door of the store, tell your children what you expect. One treat? No treat? Remind them you aren’t going to listen to whining or begging. Then stick with it.
Allow them to help
If you are picking up apples, let them help you pick them. If you are choosing which cheese to buy, let them help choose between a couple of different types. If you involve them in your shopping, they will feel more useful and helpful. Children love to please.
Bring a snack for your child
I don’t do this unless my children are under the age of 18 months. It’s my own personal preference. In fact, I am pretty adamant about NOT letting my children eat in the store. However, if you don’t mind, bring along a snack for your child. Crackers, cheerios, or raisins (if they are old enough) are not messy and takes a while to eat. It might buy you some time.
Make up a list for your children to follow
If they are of reading age, make a list of a few items they are to watch for. If they aren’t of reading age, draw a picture of that item on paper. Give them a crayon to mark it off of their list just like you do.
Assign them jobs
Depending on the ages of your children, give each of them a specific job to do. One can push the cart, one can hold the coupons, and one can choose what cat food to buy that day. Again I say, children love to help!
Pray for patience!
Why go in it alone? Pray that God will give you the grace and patience you need to get through the stores with all of your helpers.
Don’t go during naptime
I know you only have one more store to go to. I know you have been running errands all day. You just want to finish. Your child just wants to finish too. He is hungry and tired. Sometimes you just have to stop and be done, even if your list isn’t complete. Don’t expect more than what your child can give.
Buy yourself a treat
Yes, sometimes mom needs one too. During our last grocery shopping adventure with my children, I had been stepped on, cut in front of, and had my name said 1276 times. (That may be an exaggeration.) They were good, just THERE. You know what I mean? Every step I took, I had to step around someone. After 4 stops, I was tired. I bought myself a little treat. It doesn’t happen often, but it is nice when I need it. I enjoyed every bite of the generic Twinkie I bought. ;-)
I love my four blessings but they are all at different ages and stages. While one is trying to help me pick bananas the other is pulling a box of crackers off of the shelf. One more is standing right in front of me looking at the same thing I am. (Why must he stand right in front of me?!?!) Go into shopping with the right attitude and be sure to take them with you! Yes, you might be more sane when the shopping trip is done if you don't have them, but they will never learn grocery shopping etiquette if they always stay home. Take them with you, have a plan and let them learn. It can be fun. Think positive. :-)