Tips for Shopping with Your Kids

Here’s my 5 on grocery shopping with your kids!
In my situation, I take them “most of the time”. I don’t have free babysitting whenver I need it during the week. I prefer to keep our weekends free for family events, so that leaves me with taking the kids to the store!

1. Have a Plan and a List! When making your list, think about the store. Rewrite your list so that its in the order that you will find it in the store on your regular stroe route (because we all know there are rules to follow and certain directions to go…at least in my Kroger there are!). Sound a little OCD? I’d MUCH rather spend 3 extra minutes reorganizing and rewriting my list than 15 minutes back tracking through the store, pushing a cart that weighs over 100 pounds with 2 whiny kids and an increasingly cranky mama!

2. Go at your kids “Peak Time”. For me, that means right after breakfast! We are all rested and fed! This reduces the whininess factor and the “I NEED this super sugary, dye-filled, preservative-filled cereal or I’m gonna die” factor!

3. Hit up NO MORE than 2 stores at once! If you plan to shop around to get the best deals, only go to 2 stores in one shot! The longer you are out, the louder then tantrums become!

4. Gotta have a cool CAR CART! Because if you don’t get one, you risk major tantrums all the way through the produce section! Really…they may be tanks and super hard to steer, but at least little ones can help! And wave to their counterparts in the other car carts!

5. BRIBE! I can’t believe I am actually writing this! (This goes against my entire parenting philosophy!) Background: My fondest memories of the grocery store growing up were at the donut counter. Standing there drooling over all the delicious options, trying to determine what donut best matched my mood! That was my mother’s plan…get us each a donut so we’d be quiet throughout the store! It worked for me! It worked for her! I turned out just fine!

6. Make it Fun and Positive! Involve older kids by teaching them about prices, coupons, sales and bargains. Sing a song or two. Talk about the meals you will cook with them later in the week. Use it as a learning experience. There are ample opportunities for teaching your children while in the grocery store…social skills, being good stewards of money, I want vs. I need, and delayed gratification (which is quickly becoming a thing of the past in our culture!)

Go get em girls!


  1. Betsy says

    Just discovered your blog! I cracked up at this post–I, too, have to take my kids (1 year old twins, 2 year old “big sister”) to the store and I do everything you said–even the bribing. For us, it’s the canisters of Teddy Grahams that get us through the checkout line (and those little canisters are conveniently placed there waiting for little hands to grab them!).

  2. Natalie says

    On one shopping trip that I got to go by myself, I wrote down the sections in the store in the order I shop. Then I came home and typed up a sheet on the computer with it divided up that way. Then when I make my shopping list or as we run out of things my list is already organized. (It’s also easy for hubby to write things on the list or shop if needed)

  3. Becky Free says

    I LOVE your honesty,humor and energy!!! It ALL comes alive on your pages thru your words!!! GREAT job…keepup the GREAT work…its making my life easier 😉 and my stress level a lil lower…LOL =)

  4. Lis says

    It’s great if you can go late at night after the kids have gone to bed. If you don’t have a trustworthy older teenager or spouse that can be home with them see if a neighbor or friend might be willing to come by and hang out while you’re out. (Since the kids are already asleep you can assure them it’s just a matter of coming by and watching tv or a movie while you’re gone.)

    Also, if you have friends with kids organize play dates where one afternoon you watch their kids while they do some child-free grocery shopping and the next time they can watch yours while you do your shopping!

  5. says

    Anonymous….. Discipline? Really? I am all for it when raising my children to become Godly people full of great character. I am under the impression that you do not have children, otherwise you’d understand that children act out at times, even when disicipline follows.
    my2cents–I know it’s an old post but I couldn’t let it slide.

  6. Becky says

    A lifftle tip that makes my family “run like a well oiled machine” (said by an observer last week) I have my children play grocery store at home. We goof around practicing our “positions on the train” and the jobs that go with them. I shop with six kids and two carts (11,9,8,6,3,1year and one on the way) Baby sits in cart, 9 year old walks beside baby and me to entertain the little one, 11 year old pushes cart and 8 year old transfer items to the cart. 6 year old holds onto cart in front right hand corner and is asked to “train” 3 year old in the methods of holding onto cart while walking and teacher her how to one finger touch. Timing is everything. Being fed and rested is huge. Explaining blessings and consequences at home is also very helpful. Little ones understand the train concept and learn easily how to follow. If your little one isn’t ready for 1 finger touching, allow them to select their favorite toy to put in their right hand and explain that they can keep it as long as they hold on to the “train” with the left hand.

    I know it is a lot, but it is a blessing to be able to shop with my children and get 2 loads of groceries in the time it takes others to get 1. Pray first and then try it! God Bless! Becky

  7. says

    A variation on the bribe thing: in addition to the free cookies that the Kroger bakery gives out around here, I often let each of the kids choose one “special thing” to buy that wasn’t on the list. I get veto power. Okay, so sometimes we end up with Doritos or hot dogs. But it doesn’t take much encouragement to get them all excited about picking out and trying all the weird and wacky things out of the produce section–fresh brussel sprouts. Star fruit. And because it’s their special pick, they’re excited to eat it. And sometimes, to mix it up even more, I let them pick out a special thing to donate to the food bank. The chance to talk about being generous to the food bank, and visiting it, and helping stock the food we’ve brought is a great thing.

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