When you are a parent, no matter the age of the children, a big part of your week is making the usual chores fun for the kids, simply because they need to get done.
For us, one of the these must-do tasks each week is grocery shopping. With our first baby, we all went and tried to make a go of it each time and for the most part it was enjoyable.
Then we fell into a routine of one parent going while the other stayed home with the baby.
Now that we have two kids and the older boy is much more active, we are starting to include them in the grocery shopping trips again.
Recently I took both our boys to the grocery store on my own and in the process learned a few tips that I wanted to pass on to all parents with small children.
They may not work for you, they may seem obvious to some, but they certainly worked for this dad who was just trying to keep everyone alive.
Make a Grocery List: We have always done this so it is not a big deal. But for those who don’t, grocery shopping with kids is like pushing a time bomb around in your cart. Plan what you are buying as much as possible. If you have to think about it more than 10 seconds in the store, move on.
Snacks and More Snacks: In the diaper bag that I mentioned in a previous post, load it up with snacks and drinks. Even if you don’t use them, more is better than none. Don’t be that parent who has to madly break into a bag of cookies of the shelf just to thwart a meltdown.
Use What Is There: Whether it is riding in the shopping cart or looking at live lobster, use what the store has to your advantage. Kids, at least mine, are very easily distracted with new things. Let them pick stuff of the shelf and carry it or hold it. Our boys love to hold onto something that is for them.
Know The Layout: Make sure you know where the washrooms are because you may have to make a mad dash at any moment. Usually they are near the main exits, but it is always good to be sure.
Educate: Use the opportunity to make the trip fun by talking about the food you are buying and what it is. I find this is especially great in the produce and meat departments. Describe how the food becomes dinner. This will maybe even help the kids learn to eat new foods and like them.
Show Patience and Have Fun: If you have a short time frame to get the job done, maybe it is not the best time to take the kids. If you have to however, just try to stay relaxed and have fun. So what if the kids act up a bit. In the long run, if they learn that grocery shopping is fun, they will get better and better each time. Your actions influence their enjoyment.
So, are you ready to hit the grocery store with your kids? See you in aisle 8.
Michael is a marketing manager by day, who has been at the blogging thing for almost a decade. Father of two, husband to one and griller to the Gods. Read more about his parental adventures, including his current stint on parental leave on his blog, Like A Dad.