A Pain-free Guide to Grocery Shopping With the Kids

Even well behaved children can have trouble behaving in the grocery store- it’s a wonderland full of treats and bright colors and toys. But most kids know that grocery shopping is a chore, and behavioral expectations clash against the hundreds of little temptations all around them.

As your kids get older you’ll find the right mix of parenting techniques that will make trips to the store less chaotic. In the meantime, here are a few tips you can start using now to make grocery shopping with the kids a little easier:

  • To start, don’t ever leave your children in the car when you shop - it’s just not worth it. It can be extremely dangerous and scary for your child, not to mention it’s illegal in many states.
  • Never take your kid to the store on an empty stomach. This makes low-hanging fruit like chips and junk food all the more appealing. Instead, go after you’ve eaten a meal.
  • Make a grocery list and review it with your child before you go shopping. Make it clear that nothing goes in the cart that isn’t on the list (we talk about how this will save you money in our Shopping Tips & Tricks blog).
  • Know the layout of the store like a Bond villain planning a jewel heist. If you know where the tempting items are located, you can simply avoid them.
  • Shop the peripherals first- all the nutritious food is found along the walls of the stores, while all the chips, candy and junk food are located in the aisles. Once you’ve made your way around the store, put your blinders on and get what’s left on your list WITHOUT travelling down the aisles you don’t need to.
  • Give your child a job to keep them occupied and teach them to be a good helper. For example, you can show them how to pick out ripe fruits and vegetables, and that can be their responsibility whenever you go shopping.

Grocery shopping shouldn’t be a punishment or an exercise in militaristic discipline. When it’s fun kids have an incentive to behave. Reward good behavior with small, healthy rewards- let them pick out a piece of fruit for tomorrow’s breakfast or try a new vegetable they’ve never seen.