Grocery Shopping with Your Kids: How to Make it Work

Try these tips to keep your kids busy and happy while you shop at the store.

The idea of weekly grocery shopping seems quaint when you actually have to stop at the grocery store two or three times a week because of that one ingredient you thought you had enough of, but turns out you didn’t. Or because no one was really in the mood for pasta tonight – yourself included – but you hadn’t planned for meatballs.

So here you are again. In aisle 13, trying to remember what you’re looking for. Weren’t you just here, in this same aisle, yesterday? Or was it two days ago? Are they still out of the brand you like?

And oh yeah, your little one is semi-behaved at this very moment. But who knows how long that’s going to last? And why risk it?

In the world of seemingly constant grocery shopping, especially with kids in tow, here are some tips for getting through it.

1. Make a List, and Stick to it
Knowing what you need to buy before you even enter the store will keep your shopping trip as organized and concise as possible. You'll also save money by sticking with items that you need instead of filling your cart with impulse buys. And you can always tell the kids, “Sorry. That expensive, sugary cereal isn’t on the list so we can’t get it.”

2. Plan for Savings
You don’t have to be an extreme couponer to save money on groceries! By simply doing a little prep work, you’ll can get more for your money on your shopping trip. To save on your favorite P&G products, check out our Coupons & Offers page. You can choose from print-at-home coupons or get them loaded directly to your retailer’s shopper card. It’s that simple!

3. Get to Know the Store
The better you know the layout of your grocery store, the faster you’ll be able to map out your route through the store and back to your car. Nothing eats up time and patience like wandering a store trying to find an ingredient or two. Don’t be afraid to ask for help in finding the right aisle to complete your list.

4. Take Care of Business
Make sure that little ones head to the bathroom before leaving home or at the beginning of the shopping trip so that you take fewer unexpected and inconvenient trips to the restroom while shopping.

5. Get the Kids Involved
If your kids are old enough, enlist them in helping you locate the items on your list. It will be a thrilling scavenger hunt for them and a huge time-saver for you. Win, win!

6. Choose Your Time Wisely
When shopping with kids, the time of day really does make a difference. Instead of attempting a quick trip to the store right before nap time or when they’re hungry for lunch, head to the store when the kids are well-rested, well-fed and in good moods. Also, pay attention to when your store is the busiest – such as right before dinner on weekdays or Saturday afternoon – and avoid going then (and miss the resulting long lines).

7. Set Limits
Be consistent. Decide before the shopping trip whether you’ll let the kids pick out a treat or special snack. If you cave once in a while, your kids will ask for treats every time you go out – and they’ll keep asking until you say yes.

8. Bring a Bag of T­ricks
Keep a few snacks, a book or an electronic game in your purse for those times when your child gets restless. Sometimes a distraction is all a child needs to get through an ordinarily boring task like grocery shopping. Don’t forget to talk to each other – an engaging conversation is often all they need to keep them occupied.

What’re your tricks to getting the shopping done while minimizing stress? Let us know in the comments.


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