Aug 2

Grocery Shopping With Kids


It's easy to start out happy. It's 5 minutes later that begins the challenge.

Grocery shopping with my kids – just typing it here tightens my shoulders with stress.  I do not wish to ever take my children to the grocery store.  It is not the kind of quality time that I ever care to experience.  Quality time, to me, doesn’t involve a constant requesting, begging, and barking for my children to listen and behave, or a continual stream of “put that back” and “no you may not.”

But there are times when I can’t weasel my way out of taking the little guys to the grocery store. I’m the stay at home dad, and it’s in my job description to get groceries.

For those of you that feel similarly, I have put together some tips that I’ve learned in my many trips to the grocery store. Here they are.  Hopefully they will keep your blood pressure manageable as you work your way up and down the aisles:

  1. Have a detailed list before you go to the store.  This may seem obvious, but it’s not.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to the store for one of Gayle’s “special” ingredients, only to discover that I should have gotten the higher fat ground turkey, as opposed to the dry and rubbery low fat stuff I normally get – or regular tissue paper instead of the ones with aloe. Know what you have to get.  It will save you the screams of the impatient child as you bungle your way through the multitude of products.
  2. Stay away from the toy section. Every grocery store has that one panel of

    I mentioned toys, so everyone could relate. My kid goes for the wine. Takes after his old man.

    cheap toys that is the shining light to children.  As you push the cart past it, your children will reach their hands from inside the cart, hoping to get some super human elasticity that will enable their hands to grab one of them.  Avoid this section at all costs.  It has the potential to create drama that you just don’t need when you’re shopping.  Even if you did agree to get a toy, the kid would just then move on to begging you to open it up right then.  And even if you did agree to open it, they’d break it, be done with it, or lose it by the time you check out, resulting in begging for another.  Don’t do it.

  3. Have the older kid push the younger kid in a stroller.  This worked like a

    He stares off in hopes I will look, so he can Houdini out of the buckle and escape. Not today, Alistair. Not today.

    charm the last time I went out.  Because Alistair (22 months at time of writing this) is becoming less and less excited about sitting in the cart.  By putting himin a stroller, completely strapped in, he can be entertained by the push and pull of Noble’s horrible driving.  I’m not a big fan of that grocery cart seat anyway.  Alistair can always find a way to contort his body into a standing position even while being fully strapped in.  The only drawback to this is that you have to have a willing 5 year old to participate.  Getting a 5 year old to participate is a challenge all on it’s own.  

  4. Upon arrival, grab those veggie squeezies, or breakfast bars, or some other snack to give them right away. It will buy you time. If children are

    Every "squeezie" buys me anywhere from 2-5 minutes.

    eating, they aren’t talking.  If they are eating, they aren’t complaining.  If they are eating, then you can shop in peace without the background noise of “WHEN ARE WE GONNA BE DOOOOONE!”

  5. Don’t browse. Get in, and get out.  If you enjoy your sanity, give up the idea that if you just stand there and stare at the toilet paper section long enough, you’ll be able to find which roll amount and ply number will save you the whopping $.30.  I know that savings add up, but so do cortisol levels.
Hopefully, by following some of these guidelines, you can alleviate some of the stress that can be caused by taking your kids grocery shopping.  If you have some tips and tricks that you use every time you take the kids shopping, please share!  My grocery shopping experiences are never perfect, unless I’m only going in for ice cream, then it’s magically the best shopping experience ever.  Odd!  


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