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How to Grocery Shop With Kids

Grocery shopping is one task that has to be done regularly, but also a forum for melt-downs. Taking the kids out grocery shopping with you can ...

How to Grocery Shop With Kids article provided by wikiHow. Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

Checking out after choosing the groceries.
Checking out after choosing the groceries.

Grocery shopping is one task that has to be done regularly, but also a forum for melt-downs. Taking the kids out grocery shopping with you can sometimes be a strain, so take a few of these hints to make it a calmer, more enjoyable trip.

edit Steps

  1. 1
    Choose a time shopping when the children will be well rested, fed, and you will not be pressed for time. A tired, hungry child will be much more difficult to work with. If you are stressed, you are also be more likely to have problems with the trip. If possible, go on a trip to the playground beforehand.
  2. 2
    Make a shopping list. It can save time and help keep you on task so you don't forget a major item, and then have to go back again.
    After some practice, your child might copy your writing abilities!
    After some practice, your child might copy your writing abilities!
  3. 3
    When at the store, briefly but clearly go over expected behavior and what they can do to help.Tell the children which store you are going to and that you will be buying the groceries. You don't have to be overly heavy-handed about this, but a reminder helps make clear what's expected. Also remind about any potential rewards, such as making a special lunch afterwards.
  4. 4
    Pick a sage cart. Avoid carts that have broken, or no safety straps in the seating area. Many children are seriously injured by shopping carts. If you see a broken belt, tell a manager. Some stores offer carts with special seating, cars on the front of the shopping cart or seats off of the back of the cart. The cars only fit small children and it's hard to see the child once inside.
  5. 5
    Assign older children to a job you think is special enough for them to do. As you go by through the store they can be carrying out their special job and that should also make the shopping trip easier and faster for you as well. At the end of the trip praise them on how well they did their job so that they earn a sense of achievement.
    • Suggestions for Special Helper Jobs:
    • Read the list to you.
      A child can fetch a liter of milk for you.
      A child can fetch a liter of milk for you.
    • Find a bunch of five bananas
    • Hand you list of deli purchases to the deli worker, and bring the items back.
    • Get a liter of milk.
    • Find the cheapest paper towels.
    • Find a coupon for you. (Even non-readers can match pictures to products.)
    • Remind you to get an item (even if its on the list already).
  6. 6
    Be Efficient. If you're meandering through the aisles, flirting with the cute seafood manager, and shuffling through your flier, you'll try the patience of the little ones.
  7. 7
    Be Educational. The grocery store is a real-world situation in which reading, math, problem-solving and more are easily taught.
    • Count the fruits and vegetables as you get them from the bin.
    • Have your child read the list as you walk the aisle.
    • Have your child find the cheapest item.
    • Have your older child figure which item is cheapest per unit.
    • Read the item's label out loud, point to the word, and put it in the cart.
    • Have your older child find the cereal with the most fiber, the least calories, or most Vitamin C (or whatever feature you're looking for).
    • Ask your young child what animal made a certain food (milk, eggs, cheese, bacon, etc.)
    • Point out colors of foods. Ask them if they can spot a red food, purple food, or yellow food.
  8. 8
    Thank your Children. At the end of the shopping trip, thank your children for their excellent work.


Taking your young children with you on a trip to the grocery store can be an exhausting experience. In this video, the Go-To Mom, Kimberley Blaine, shares some advice on how to encourage positive at the grocery store when you take your kids along.


edit Tips

  • Give the child its job appropriate depending on his or her age. If you ask a three year old to hold a gallon of milk, then there will be a bit of a disaster.
  • Be careful of youngsters who grab things off shelves, especially toddlers. Try to stay in the middle of the aisle if that's the case.
  • Toddlers will often be content to hold a purchase, but be sure it's something non-bruising and unbreakable. For some reason babies love holding bananas and find them hard to throw.
  • Older children can practically do all the grocery shopping themselves with a little supervision and of course with you to help pay at the end.
  • Realize that sometimes there just will be a meltdown. Sometimes you just have to run to the store with a cranky child. Or suddenly your angelic child turns into a whiny, demanding hellion. It's annoying and potentially embarrassing, but every child will have a bad day at the store eventually.
  • Have compassion for parents with children in meltdown. Don't criticize. You may be able to help them by talking to the child, letting them through in line, or just asking, "Can I help?"

edit Warnings

  • Do not allow your children to handle potentially dangerous food, such as raw chicken.
  • Do not allow young children to wander around grocery stores unsupervised--they can lose sense of direction easily.
  • Do not try to add additional shopping trips to your grocery store trip if your children are successful. You will get less and less cooperation.
  • Never get candy at the register. Even if you do it once, you'll be pestered forevermore. Even better, find a candy-free register.

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