- Tip #1 – Getting into (and out of) the SUV: This is a scary one for me as it probably is for anyone with more than one young and mobile child in a parking lot. Our current strategy (pictured below) was suggested by a friend in our play group. Pick one spot on the car and teach the kiddos to put their hand in that spot and wait. For us, it is the tire. While I load (or unload) Big Brother, Little Brother waits…usually. It is a work in progress and usually sounds like this:
- Tip #2 – Making it into the grocery store: When possible, I will park right by the cart return in the parking lot. This makes Tip 1 above unnecessary since I can usually just load one right in the the child seat in the cart. Still, this part always makes me nervous… especially with climbers. I try to wedge the cart as close to the door as possible and keep a foot on it while unloading Kiddo #2. The real trick is finding the right cart in the parking lot.
- Tip #3 – Finding the right cart: Cart selection pretty much determines where we get our groceries right now. Since one up front and one in the back is not an option – as child in back will no doubt try to open and eat his way through the bounty – we have to go where we can find one of these…
- Tip #4 – Finishing the list before entering “crank”-ville: This is tough, as my boys seem to have a time limit for my shopping, but having an organized list (by department) helps. Since my boys are starting to recognize and request food items in the store, I also try to keep a small snack bag in my purse. Lately, they are loving Toddler Trail Mix, Goldfish, or Veggie Straws. If one gets cranky, I can sometimes pacify the offender by bringing him into the child seat and handing over my snack bag. If both get cranky, I get cranky, too. Still working on that solution. 😉 Also, some stores have a kid shopper program that allows them to eat one fruit or bakery item while shopping. For example, Jewel-Osco stores have a Healthy Eaters Free Fruit Card, which is a great. Now, if only they had double race-carts, we’d be all set!
- Tip #5 – Skipping the madness: While I have not tried this, another option would be to try a home delivery grocery service. (Full disclosure – Peapod is currently an affiliate advertiser on this website.) I have just started to investigate the cost and available selection, and I may very well give this a try. One feature I initially like with Peapod is that you can set up a specified diet plan (including one for specific allergies), and the allergy-friendly products will be starred as you shop. I’m also wondering if I might actually save money by “shopping” after the boys are in bed when I have time to plan, compare, and not “impulse” buy. If you are considering a home delivery option, you can read reviews – which seem to be overall positive – here: http://www.yelp.com/biz/peapod-skokie.
We are still very much learning as we go when it comes to grocery shopping. In all honesty, it is not something I look forward to, despite the fact that I really do love meal planning and cooking.
How do you handle groceries? Do you go alone? Shop on-line? Grit your teeth and bear it with the kids? Bribe them to be little cherubs in the store? I would love it if you have any tips to share…or if you just need a place to vent about the “joys” of shopping.