A to Z Kids Stuff
Fun Educational Activities





Online Store

Art Recipes

Special Days

Color Pages




Freebies & Savings


Grocery Shopping With Lots of Little Ones
(and Enjoying It!)
--A Primer--

By Molly Aley

Ok, so we all know it's more relaxing to go grocery shopping on your own, but when you have to go with all of them (and I usually do), this is how to make it really fun!

1.) Go early. Right After Breakfast is when we go. That's when everybody is their cheeriest, their tummies are full and they are completely rested.

We dress them neatly, too. Let's face it--people love cute looking children, but raggedy ones look bratty---a sure fire way to be a good testimony for large families is to dress your children neatly, do something simple-but-cute with the girls hair, and have them happily tagging along with you at the grocery store! I get a zillion compliments and smiles everytime we go! :o)

2.) When you get to the store, and the littlest one is (of course) in the shopping cart, have the others stay nearby with you. If your children don't know how to do this, practice it at home before you ever take them to the store. Make it a game. When you are there, remind everybody to follow close to Mom and if you are in the beginning stages of learning to stay by Mom, then do promise a reward for obedience! (And NO, it's not "bribing" them--God Himself rewards obedience and curses rebellion). If someone is having a hard time staying close, then I have them keep a hand on my outer thigh, or a hand on the side of the cart for a few minutes until they think they can be more obedient. Nobody likes to be in jail--it inspires one to remember to stay close to Mom next time. :o)

I have mine follow close behind me, simply because when they are in front I am always having them get in the way of our grocery cart, and if they are on the sides then they are in the way of anyone trying to pass through the aisle. So when we are walking, they are right behind me together. Constant reminders are due for the younger ones, of course, as they always forget at first (Oh, and always be sure and compliment all good behaviour! "Catch them doing good" as they say, and that's good advice!).

3.) Now that you're in the store and about to get started, head straight over to the bakery section FIRST and let them help you pick out some yummy fresh bagels. No, NOT the do-nuts or the cookies--and don't even let them start begging you. You want good behaviour, not sugar-laced wild children!

The bagels are PERFECT--they take forever to eat, they're really fairly healthy (the fresh-made kind much more so than the preservative-laden packaged kind!), and they digest slowly... (In other words, the energy from the bagels will hit the children right about the time you are getting out of the final check-out line!). Plus, they are really low-priced. Mine love deciding whether they'll do a blueberry, or an everything, or a cranberry, etc... :o)

Next, you need the essential ingredient for Mom. (And this is something we can't necessarily afford all the time, but we can splurge a few dollars for a once-a-week grocery trip). Get Mom a Mocha. I know, I'm normally a healthy-foods-nut, but that Mocha makes the shopping trip so much fun for ALL of us. It's a special treat for Mom, something I look forward to, and I have a bit of extra energy for handling the shopping trip with ease. So if your supermarket doesn't have a coffee stand, just run through a drive-through before-hand and shell out a few bucks for a "treat" before you go on your next grocery trip. Try it--it really adds that *extra spice* to the outing!

4.) Ok...now MOVE, momma!

While the children are happily munching down on their bagels, YOU are busy shopping. *grin* You have approximately 20 minutes before the bagels kick in and make everybody feel like wiggling--so SHOP, woman, SHOP! :o)


5.) Make the Shopping Experience a Part of Your Educational and Relational Time.

As they trail along with you, chatter to them--talk about what you're getting, why you pick that item out instead of the others, etc... Chattering, for me, is always helped by the fact that I am sipping on my mocha and feeling that nice energy kick! *grin*

I always make it a point to show them what the Sale signs look like (how to tell if an item is on sale), or to tell them why this product is healthier than the other product, etc... My 6 year old now reads the price signs with ease (helping her 4 year old sister to do so also) and enjoys seeing which products cost more than others, etc... When they are older and reading better, they'll be expert ingredient-label readers too! I'm training future "healthy-but-frugal" mothers!


My 3 year old boy is a "wild-boy" but even he has been trained to stick with Mom and not to climb all over the cart (which at first, when he was newly turned 2 and graduated from the front basket seat, was not easy! He's "all-boy" through and through, that one is!). But, the good ol' bagel keeps those grubby fingers quite occupied, and the constant reminders are now fairly ingrained!

When no one is in the aisle with us, I'll throw out a quick game using the tiles on the floor of the store--if they are black and white tiles, then I'll say "Ack! The white tiles are hot lava!" and they love that, bouncing from black tile to black tile. Or if the tiles are all one color, I'll have them try not to step on any cracks (they pretend that crocodiles will eat you if they step on the cracks--they love that game too). They know that if somebody else comes into the aisle near us, the game is over and they need to be very quiet and get on one side so the person can pass. This must, again, be constantly reinforced with the younger ones, but they do get it eventually. :o)

If items are on low shelves ,I'll sometimes assign one of them to grab a certain amount of the product, to hand it to the other one, who will walk it over to whoever is assigned for putting things into the grocery cart. Meanwhile, baby is still sitting in the cart, happily drooling over his bagel. :o)

 I go grocery shopping once a week with my children (and have ever since we started having children) and (believe it or not!) I actually enjoy it. :o)

Personally, I'd rather go grocery shopping WITH the children, and then when I get some time withOUT the children (when Daddy is watching them solo or something), I choose to go to the library or to a big bookstore and just RELAX and peruse through books to my hearts content. Going grocery shopping by myself isn't relaxing to me--it's like doing a chore, only it's lonesome all by myself! Plus, I always find myself getting jealous of all the other mothers who have their children with them. I find I've gotten accustomed to the special time with my children at the store, as well as used to all the friendly smiles and delighted exclamations we get (from almost everybody who passes us). When I go by myself, it's just plain ol' me and it's really boring!

This is for all of you mothers who, like me, have your hands full with young ones and don't always have the ability of going grocery shopping alone. Hopefully these simple tips will help you enjoy your trips as much as we do!

About the Author

This article was written by Mrs. Molly Aley, mother to a 6g, 4g, 3b, 16mosb, and ??? due in May.


Other Articles

Encouraging a Child
to Read
Children's Learning Styles: From Crib to Classroom Understanding Preschool Child Development


Follow Us



Get Your Toddler to Cooperate!

What is Grandma's Rule?


 up to top

Click here to tell a friend about this site!

Contact Us 

Home ·Art Recipes ·Online Store ·Special Days ·Articles ·Resources ·Ecards ·Freebies·Links·Toddler·Preschool ·School-Age ·Calendars