Grocery Store Games

Grocery shopping with a little one can be an adventure to say the least.  However, here are 6 quick tips to make grocery shopping with your baby, toddler, or preschooler easier:

  1. Eat before you go (and/or take a snack).  Everyone operates better with a full tummy, including grownups.  You’ll find you all have more energy and enthusiasm for the trip when you’re not hungry.
  2. Pick the right time.  Sometimes this is really hard when you have a limited schedule, but if you plan to go at a time when you know your child will be well rested and in better spirits, you’ll have a more enjoyable trip.  Mornings can be good for lots of kiddos.  For a time, when my oldest was an infant, we went to the Farmer’s Market at 7 am because he was up super early anyway, there were fewer people, and we had our pick of great produce.  Fewer people also means you don’t have to stand in as long of a line at the cash register and fewer people to stare at you should your little one get start crying or throwing a tantrum (something I know none of our adorable children would ever do).
  3. Consider going as a family. Perhaps this sounds odd, or perhaps it’s something you already do.  Regardless, I have found with our family that making grocery shopping a family outing cuts the shopping time in half (as we split up the list and “race” to see who can get their half finished first).  Plus, now with two kids we each are able to give our little people a little more attention as we go through the store, making the trip more fun overall.
  4. Bring along toys or books.  This is something people often recommend with a baby in a carrier.  In fact, now there are so many wonderful toys to attach to carriers or strollers.  However, the rule still applies for older kids.  Whether it’s a coloring pad and a marker, a favorite book, or even a set of plastic car keys like we used with the babies in class this week, there are a host of toys that you can fit in a purse or diaper bag which can help keep everyone occupied even if it’s just for when you’re in the checkout line.
  5. Make the Grocery Store an educational experience.  Just think of all the smells, sights, and sounds to share with your child.  Let your baby or young toddler feel a bumpy orange or a prickly pineapple.  Talk about the cold frozen foods or the warm fresh bread.  Discuss colors of fruits and vegetables.  For an older toddler or preschoolers, get them to help you find items on your list.  Ask them to help you find the number of each aisle.  Count the number of bananas in a bunch or the number of boxes of mac and cheese you buy (if you’re not afraid to know).
  6. And of course, use all your Kindermusik tricks.  Yes, I’ve said it before, I will do Kindermusik anywhere, especially when my kids need a little something extra to capture their attention.  Perhaps you pull out your car keys and sing “Jingle Goes the Car Keys.”  Maybe you chant “To market, to market to buy some bananas, home again, home again jiggety janas!”  You can even having a little “Washing Machine” wiggle from the grocery cart.  And if you don’t mind singing, it will often soothe a fussy baby or even entertain a toddler who’s tired of being strapped into the grocery cart.  Just pick a favorite Kindermusik activity and go.

And at the end of it all, be sure to pick up something special for you to celebrate what an awesome parent you are!

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