Grocery shopping with three little ones isn’t easy. Doing anything these days isn’t easy but grocery shopping can be a big challenge, especially when I am taking them out during the week by myself and the husband is working. Even though it’s harder with the kids by myself, I prefer to do one big weekly shopping trip during the week when the stores are empty, versus having to stand in lines and maneuvering through full aisles when everyone else is shopping.
The hardest part is trying to keep everyone entertained until the shopping is done. A typical weekly shopping trip can take up to two hours because we try to get all the meals for the week. I don’t like resorting to tablets and phones to entertain them because it’s just too easy, and I know that it can become a bad habit if we let it. So instead, I have been trying to teach them to wait and be patient and more importantly to help and be included in the shopping trip.
Over the years I’ve come up with a few creative things that have worked for us.
- Get a Binxy Baby Shopping Cart Hammock! My little man LOVES his. He can hang out for a while and watch everyone around him. And the best part is that you still have room for groceries underneath!
2. Counting items – Let one of the older kids sit in the back of the cart and count everything and then keep count of any new items that get thrown in the basket.
3. Stacking – Stacking cans or boxes to see how tall they can make the stack before it toppling over. This is challenging because the cart is moving all the time.
4. Twist ties – The twist ties by the fresh grocery aisle can be used to make little crafts. Let them free play with them or give them a task to do, like twist them together to make a shape, or have them tie them to the side of the cart.
5. Let older kids help read the grocery list and check off items – Have them be in charge and read off each item and mark them off as they are placed in the cart. A version of this for younger kids is grocery store bingo with pictures or have a printable with the pictures of the food like THIS ONE or THIS ONE from Etsy.
6. Go to kid friendly places – Places like Whole Foods has a snack area where kids can go to pick out a free piece of fruit to take with them. Trader Joe’s has a stuffed antelope they hide around the store and kids can search for it while they shop.
7. Car carts – My favorite HEB has little cars in the front and rear of the carts with steering wheels. The girls will sit here usually the entire shopping trip pretending to drive. The good thing is that it still leaves room for groceries.
8. Explore New Foods – There are two grocery stores near us and one has food samples every Tuesday. Most weeks we will save our trip for Tuesday afternoons when they start getting all the food sample stations ready and we will go from station to station testing all the foods.
9. Cart captain – Let one of the older kids be the cart captain and push the cart. The cart doesn’t move unless the cart captain is behind the cart ready to move it.
10. Special shopping snack – This works for both babies and the older kids. Either pack a special snack that they get to eat in the cart only or go to a grocery store with a snack place in it. Our Walmart has a popcorn stand where we get the special popcorn treat bag only if they sit quietly in the cart to eat it. My favorite Target has popcorn and icees! Some of my girls favorites.