8 Ways to Grocery Shop With Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind

8 Ways to Grocery Shop With Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind

Moms share their best secrets for grocery shopping with their kids in tow.

By Maria Mora

Unless your children have never misbehaved, you’re probably familiar with the dreaded conundrum of trying to go grocery shopping with kids in tow. It inevitably results in retreating to your car to do yoga breathing for several minutes with Top 40 tunes blasting on the radio to drown out the sounds of your whining children.

It doesn’t have to be horrible. But it does take a little work to avoid meltdowns and misbehavior and massive frustration. Try these tips and tricks from me and other moms to get through your next shopping trip.

1. Choose the time of day wisely. Typically, mornings are quieter than the late afternoon rush. Try to pick a time that isn’t as busy. You’ll be in and out more quickly, and that gives your kids less time to unravel.

2. Give older kids jobs. I give my 8-year-old his own list, and I allow him to run off in the store to find a few items at a time. I try to stick to items that are in nearby lanes. It takes a little extra work, but it’s worth it to keep him away from my 6-year-old.

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3. Take advantage of samples. Distract your kids with free food samples in the store. You may end up with the added benefit of teaching them to love a few new foods. I always pick up a few things from the deli so that I can share the meat samples with them.

4. Do what you have to do. There’s nothing wrong with plopping your kid in the cart with a handheld device. Although you want your child to develop good habits during errands, you also need to make your own sanity a priority.

5. Use props. Jen, a mom from Florida, bought a tiny plastic shopping cart for her preschooler. She recently allowed him to push it around the store alongside her. “It went amazingly well,” she reveals.


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6. Consider grocery services. If you have local delivery services, don’t be afraid to use them once in a while. Some stores also offer services that have your groceries bagged and ready to check out when you arrive. That being said, it’s still good to brave the store with kids every so often. The practice allows them to learn how to behave appropriately.

7. Look for child care. Some stores have craft tables and child care rooms. If you can find a store like this in your area, it may be worth a longer drive.

8. Offer rewards. Most kids respond remarkably well to rewards. Set firm expectations, and keep those expectations relatively simple, like “keep your hands to yourself” and “don’t whine.” Give your kids the ability to earn a special snack by adhering to these expectations.

What are your favorite tips for surviving grocery shopping?

Maria Mora is a single mom, editor, and hockey fanatic. She lives with her two sons in Florida.

Image ©iStock.com/CroMary

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