Grocery shopping without kids is always ideal, but often you just can’t get out of the house without the kids in tow. With some planning, you can minimize the temper tantrums that sometimes occur when grocery shopping with kids. Here are some tips to help you through the process.
Avoid Cranky Times
It sounds like common sense, but sometimes it’s easy to forget just how cranky your child can be near meal times or nap times. You convince yourself he’ll be okay for a quick trip to the grocery store. Don’t talk yourself into it. Unless you have no choice, always avoid those cranky times of the day. You set your child up for failure when you expect him to sit still in a cart while you shop when he’s already feeling crabby or tired. Plan shopping trips when your child is generally happy and alert.
Pack for Success
You’ve heard of dressing for success, but shopping with kids requires you to pack for success. Don’t go to the store empty handed. Bring along some tools that will keep your child content. Snacks top the list of must-haves when shopping with a child. A bag of cereal, fruit or other snacks will keep him busy while you tackle the shopping. Don’t forget a sippy cup too.
You can also help your child by bringing along some simple activities. Bring a few small toys that he can play with in the cart. Another option is to pack a notebook and a few crayons or a pen. Your child can scribble while he rides in the cart and navigates the grocery store aisles.
You’ll increase your chances of making it out of the store unscathed if you go into the shopping trip prepared. Always make a list so you know exactly what you need. Organize the list based on the layout of the grocery store so you don’t end up going back and forth to get things you forgot. You’ll get in and out of the store much faster so your child has less time to have a meltdown.
Interact with Your Child
Sure you’re trying to get out of the store as fast as possible, but don’t ignore your child. He might throw a fit just to get your attention if he feels like you aren’t paying attention to him. Talk to him as you go through the aisles. Point out different things you see. Sing songs to him. Just a little attention can go a long way toward keeping your child happy.
Let Him Help
If your child is old enough, get him involved in the grocery shopping. Kids can grab items off the shelf for you. My daughter loves having her own shopping list. Before she could read, I drew pictures of the items next to the name so she could “read” the list herself. Helping out makes your child feel important and keeps him busy so he doesn’t throw a fit.