Grocery shopping is a love it or hate it task for many. But whether you love it or hate it, most people would agree that the task becomes much more difficult once kids are involved. Grocery shopping with children can come with one of four T’s (threats, time-outs, tears and tantrums). But it really does not have to. Here are five tips on how to grocery shop with kids tear-free. YES!!!
Fill their Tummies
So you’ve got your shopping list, car keys, you’ve set the security alarm but, did you give your kids something to eat?If you are like most parents, there will come a time when you have to take the kids to the grocery store with you. For us, it’s at least fifty percent of the time. When your time comes, make sure to give the kids something to eat before you head out of the door. The saying, “Never shop on an empty stomach” also applies to kids. Taking your children to the grocery store while hungry is like eating a few bowls of chili just before a long road trip. You should not do it. If you do, something is likely to blow up. Be prepared for a grumpy, cranky, whiney cute little person(s) to make things very difficult for you.
Establish Some Ground Rules
As with any other situation, you have to let your expectations be known. If you waltz into the grocery store and hope that your kids will be well-behaved well…that may just not happen. So establish some rules before you get to the store. Let your “little people” know what they can and can’t do. Ex: Are they allowed to make grocery selections and/or put things in the cart? Are they allowed to run around the grocery store chasing each other like cats and dogs? You know, all the normal stuff. If you establish these ground rules initially, you will keep your surprise factor to a minimum.
Assign Everyone a Task
Make sure to give your kids jobs to do when they go shopping with you and they won’t feel so bored. Depending on the age of the kids, someone can be in charge of placing items in the cart, another pushing the cart, paying the clerk, checking items off the list etc. Of course if you are shopping with babies… just ask the baby not to cry and be cute. This is more easily achieved when the baby has been fed and their diaper is dry.
Make it Fun
Grocery shopping with kids can really be a lot of fun. The grocery store is a great place to practice letter recognition and colors. Play games like “I spy”, and matching. Ask questions like, “Are these items the same or different?”. Help them practice their cognitive skills. Your child can practice counting by helping you get the desired number of items in the cart. Ex: I need five cans of corn. Can you help mommy get five cans of corn into the cart? If your grocery store has a seafood section with live lobsters or crabs, take a visit. Make an event out of it.
Use Props, Keep it Interesting
Modern grocery stores are full of fun things to keep kids entertained. There are digital scales, personal scanners and even little shopping carts like the one pictured in the image above. The key is to show the child what to do and monitor them to make sure that they are indeed helping and not deterring.
I did not say that the trip to the grocery store would be short but it will be tear-free. And that at the end of the day, having a tear-free mommy and tear-free children will make everyone happy!