10 Tips for Grocery Shopping with Children

May 14, 2015

Before I had kids, I never made shopping lists and it didn't even matter because I knew I could always dash back out to the store if I forgot something. Since having my girls though, my shopping philosophy has changed completely, right down to where I park (no kidding!). Here are a few things I've learned over the past five years that make grocery shopping with little ones a lot easier.

1. Make a list.
Consider staples and meal planning when making your list, and try to categorize it according to food type (e.g. list all fresh produce together, list frozen foods together, etc).

2. Remember to take your list!
Because the last thing you want to do is pack the kiddos back into the car and run out for a bag of brown sugar. 

3. Go at the right time.
Avoid going when little ones are sleepy or right at feeding time. Also, be mindful of when the store will be crowded, particularly around the time when people are getting off work. 

4. Park next to, or as near as possible to the cart corral. 
This way you can get the kids in the car and out of the sun or cold immediately, and not have to worry about leaving them in the car as you take the cart back.

5. Carry a light snack with you.
Something about being around all that food makes little tummies feel hungry. Either carry a little something in your purse, or be prepared to open up a box of cereal.

6. Keep newborns and infants close in a baby carrier.
Rather than putting their carseat in the cart (which can be dangerous), carry infants in a baby carrier. The smell of mama will help them relax and the sound of your heartbeat will probably lull them to sleep so you can get your shopping done.

7. Use a cart cover.
I'm more of a germaphobe than ever since I gave birth, so I swear by using a cart cover every time I shop. It's also nice and soft for when tired little ones want to lay their sleepy heads down.

8. Let them help.
Letting children who are old enough participate gives them something to do and makes them feel important. Make sure you praise them for being such a big help to mommy.

9. Double check your cart before check out. 
You're not just looking to make sure you procured everything on your list, but also to see if tiny hands have thrown in something extra, like a box of cookies.

10. Offer incentives for good behavior.
Grocery shopping isn't exactly fun for kids (and it's not always fun for adults either). Find out if your store has stickers or balloons or some other treat to reward little ones for being on their best behavior.

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