A Quick Survival Guide to Grocery Shopping with your Child Alone

African American father with young son on shoulders in supermarketBeing a parent is hard work- no one is denying that! Being a parent alone in a grocery store with your child (or children, as the case may be) can be a whole new level of “hard” that many people brave every day, but not all come out of the ordeal the same way. If you want to keep your head (and possibly limbs) when you take your kids grocery shopping with you, check out this survival guide before you brave the concrete jungle.

Get Prepared

You will need certain things to survive the trip.

-Grocery list
-An escape plan (possibly in the form of blueprints of the store, which can also help you locate the nearest bathroom when- not IF- the moment arises)
-A cell phone to call for help or backup
-Snacks for the children
-Snacks for you (can be the same that you give to your kids in order to eliminate a toddler meltdown should they realize your food is different)
-Water or juice for everyone
-Child restraints (car seat, harness, baby sling, or the threat of grounding them from their favorite television show if they wander more than five feet away)
-A mantra (I CAN do this)
-Running shoes
-Clothes that can get dirty but don’t scream “I have no idea what I’m doing” should you see someone you know

Make a plan

Once you have all items ready, make your plan. You will get to the store at 2:15 p.m., which gives you about an hour and a half before the after school crowd rushes in. Then you will need to get the kids in their proper restrains, which generally takes about 15 minutes through all the whining and fussing. Save some time for you to do a couple of repeats of your mantra, take a deep breath, and get mentally prepared. You’ll want to group foods on your list so that you don’t get milk, go to the cereal isle, then remember you need butter and have to back-track to get it. Your kids will notice something they HAVE to see RIGHT NOW, and if you say “no” a tantrum will ensue, and you can kiss that goal of getting out in an hour and a half goodbye.

Shop Like a Pro

Make sure the snacks will be handy and tat juice is accessible at all times. When you have either one spilled on your clothes, remind yourself that you wore these clothes because they can be easily washed and they aren’t your favorites. Each time you pass a bathroom, offer to take your kids to it, even if they just went. Avoid the candy and toys as much as you can. If your kids ask for something like candy or a toy, tell them “no” and prepare for the tantrum. Or, tell them “I will think about it, but first we need to get our groceries” and avoid your child’s accusing stare because they know as well as you do that you have no intention of thinking about anything other than getting out of the grocery store.

Look for the Other Parents

When you are shopping, look for the other parents. Make eye contact. Feel secure in your solidarity with them and know you are not alone.

Praise your Kid

When they do something right, praise them. When they do something wrong, correct them, then quickly move on before they can do something else that makes you want to pull your hair out.

Reward Everyone

Once you make it through the line and you are safely in the car, check that everyone is wearing all clothing and shoes. Do a head count. Then, take everyone out for pizza because you are too tired to cook and they weren’t THAT bad in the store.

 

As someone that does alot of grocery shopping either by myself or with one or all of my kids I think I have this shopping thing down. What are some strategies you all use to keep calm while grocery shopping with your little ones?

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