Before I had kids I had no idea how difficult it was to do anything with kids. Everything is multitasking! The most mundane activity is made more difficult when you add these cute curious creatures to the activity. But, I have found through the years some things that makes it much easier.
Before I begin I have a small disclaimer to mention: My children are not perfect and are normal whiny children. They have attitudes and lack listening skills at times, but through the years I have learned a couple tricks that help us all keep our sanity!
Today I will share a little bit about one of those things we all have to do:
First off, as I have added more children to the family, this has evolved over the years. I have tried it all. From begging to bribing and they just don’t work. We would all end up mad and it was torture! So I switched gears and this what works for us.
1.Get them involved. This may sound like a no brainer, but they will be much more willing to help and stay on task once you get there if they had some input. Think: Everyone gets a job.
We have a grocery list that they help me write. My eldest writes the main list, but my kindergardener writes one too and we help her with spelling and letters. This gives her practice on her writing skills and she feels involved.
This is also where I will look up online my grocery stores sales. They always have buy one get one half off sales so it’s a great time to stock up on staples like pasta and plan dinner accordingly.
We will brainstorm about things they would like in their lunch and dinner choices. We talk about healthy foods that they like and what sounds yummy for dinner. Depending on our weekly schedule with activities we decide what night needs to be quick meal choices like leftovers and what night we can do something more elaborate.
Even Preston, who is 3 , gets involved. He belts out his favorites that he wants for snacks or dinner. Everyone is involved. As an added bonus: they seem a lot more willing to try new things when it was somewhat their idea.
2. Go early. This one takes planning. We always go right after breakfast and making the list. I don’t know of one mother who has not tried to run to the store late in the day and it just never works! Kids are tired and hungry and I am tired and hungry and that is a recipe for meltdowns and tantrums. Usually from Mom! #momfail
So we try to go right after we make the list. Everyone is full from breakfast and I just find their attention span is better in the morning. I know mine is. Also, the baby is not feeling grumpy because it’s nap time. Nothing is worse than a tired, cranky baby in the produce aisle screaming their head off just wanting to lay down. been there done that!
3. Only buy what is on the list. If we didn’t think of it at home, we don’t buy it there. This one is hard with kids. They see it, they want it. But I always remind them that we didn’t plan for that so we can add it next week. They might pout but that’s okay. They will get over it. If I were to buy my kids everything they wanted we would have marshmallows and chocolate chips for dinner every night.
I will say that this works great for the dreaded checkout section where they put all those candy bars and gum! I don’t know what evil person came up with that idea but they should be pulled out back and beaten with a wet noodle!
4.Stay close. There is nothing worse than losing one of your children at a store. The panic attack alone will send any Mom into a tailspin.
So when my kids were small they had to stay in the cart. They could not get out. No matter what they had to stay IN THE CART. This was for their safety and for my sanity.
My middle child is 5 now and too big to sit and drive the cart with Preston so she is my #1 Helper. She holds her list she made and she helps me locate things that are down on her level. She loves to be the one to pick up things on the aisles and put them in the cart. I keep her very involved. This keeps her entertained but also close to me. (she is my wanderer and if not engaged she would be off roaming the candy aisle or talking to strangers!)
This brings me to the most important!
5 .Everyone carries groceries inside. When we get home everyone gets out of the car and we all help carry things inside. Usually I will pick out one item in a bag that is light, nonbreakable for Preston and Sage. They love being part of this the best. Sydney and I carry in the bulk of the items.
I will put everything away, because I don’t want deli meat in the pantry. This has happened before and was not a good smell three days later when I couldn’t figure out what happened to the ham. Not a good day!
Last but certainly most important!
6. Keep it fun! I use the grocery store to teach them about colors and numbers and spelling. I also figure I am raising little adults and I want them to know from the start what it takes to run a household and how to plan. And they can come up with some great ideas about meals. Really!
I have Preston point out different colors to me. He can spend the entire time pointing out blue circles or red X’s. Whatever I can think up. He loves it and looks forward to his scavenger hunt of the week. Right now being the Holiday’s it’s all about Santa’s face. Valentine’s it will be hearts. You get the idea. It really entertains him and he has a great time.
Sage is in kindergarten so hers is about words and math. I will have her count out apples before we put them in the bag or look for her sight words for the week. Anything I can get her to think entertains her.
My eldest is 13 and she holds the main list she filled out. She makes sure we don’t forget anything.
And that’s it! I hope this helps if you are having trouble or loathing grocery shopping with your little ones.
Just a little recap.
Get them involved. Go early. Only buy from the list. Stay close. Everyone carries the groceries inside. And keep it fun!
If you have any tips for grocery shopping with kids feel free to share them. I am always looking for new ideas with my bunch!