How to Grocery Shop with Children

without hurting someone badly in the process.

Because, if you’re like me, grocery shopping is quite possibly the bane of your existence.

It’s right up there with folding socks, emptying the dishwasher, and being impaled.

Seriously, I’d rather clean my bathroom with a Kleenex than take my kids to the grocery store to handle our bi-monthly food runs.

As of late, for reasons outside of my control, the grocery store of choice has been Super Hell Wal-Mart.

You all know by now how I feel about that place.

It makes me throw up a little; the genetic anomalies, the belligerent parents, the pimps, the coupon-hoarding-thousand-year-old-check-writers-in-the-self-check-out-lane, the bad produce, the smelly fish (and I’m NOT talking about the kind they sell), the over abundance of cheese curls. 

It’s overwhelming for the senses.

Add to that the fact that my kids always seem to be tired, hungry, and/or sick when we go there (a trip that generally takes anywhere from 1.5-2.0 hours) and you have the recurring nightmare that is my life.

But, guess what?!

Thanks to the wonderfully inventive people at Peapod (the online grocery and delivery service) those days are essentially over.


And for that, I am beyond grateful.

Which is why I’m encouraging you to try it.

It’s reasonably priced (the delivery fee is less than $10 and they have tons of items on special, comparable to what you could get at the store).

It’s easy (maybe not the first time, because you have to get used to using the site, but after that, piece of cake, which, incidentally, they will bring you if you want!).

And, it’s saves your time, your sanity, and your cash (since you don’t waste money buying all of the junk your kids and your tummy beg off you).

I know all of you can’t use Peapod (they are only in areas Giant grocery stores service) so don’t worry, I got you!

Dumb Mom’s Guide to Grocery Shopping With Kids

1.  Don’t. Do.  It.  Bad things happen to you, to your kids, and sometimes even to the people around you when you do.  I know, everyone’s kid doesn’t pick the grocery store to debut his first single, “My Mom’s Fat” like mine did.  But still, the grocery store is an embarrassing situation waiting to happen.  It seems like every mom I know has a “grocery shopping story”.  Trust me, they are not as neato as they sound.  They are just all the same: you are in a hurry, you drag your disgruntled, noncompliant toddler to the store, you rush around the place while your kid screams/whines/begs-for-stuff-there’s-no-way-in-Hell-you’re-gonna-get-him-which-you-wind-up-getting-him-just-to-make-him-stop-it-already/runs off, when you are almost home free, your kid does something embarrassing (aka sings a fat song) or disgusting (aka poops up his back AND down his leg in the checkout lane which means, no way can you just scurry away and claim innocence) or plain old bad (aka steals a roll of Starburst and makes a break for the door) making it virtually impossible for you to ever show your face in that place again.

2.  Make Daddy go too.  No reason you should have to suffer alone.  Agree to buy him those nasty BBQ flavored sunflower seeds he insists on spitting all over the porch if he comes with you.  Never know, his airplaning the kid around the place while you pick out the bread and meat for the week might just allow you to make it from entrance to exit without being made to look like the worst mom EVER.

3.  Bribery.  DOES NOT WORK ON KIDS AT THE GROCERY STORE.  Seriously, you wind up buying $75 worth of bullcrap AND being made to look like the worst mom EVER.  You have to use bribery on your friends and relatives and neighbors and random strangers you meet at the library.  Then they can watch your kids while you trot inside for the essentials.  Depending on how many kids you have, you may want to look for some of those underage drinkers that hang around outside of liquor stores and make them an offer they can’t refuse.*

4.  Have a discussion.  You know, one of those kinds in which you lay down the law beforehand so your child is not surprised when he can’t have a candy, a doughnut, and a can of orange soda when you get inside.  This strategy works best if you are one of those consistent mean-what-you-say type of mamas.  It will NOT work on all of us you wishy washy ones.  You have to have a precedent in place if you’d like the pre-talk to work it’s magic.

5.  Make it fun.  My mom used to make me let me add up all of her purchases (this was pre-calculator days people) and even practice writing checks.  Obviously this is an older kid strategy, but think along the same lines for the littler ones.  Give your energetic toddler a “big boy” (or girl) job to do and be prepared with another one when he gets bored on aisle 4.  I let #3 walk (instead of riding in the cart; safety harness engaged) if he will stay anywhere within eyeshot of me be in charge of putting my stuff in the cart.  And, I also give him a paper and a pencil to carry around as his “list”.  He likes that, especially when he gets to try to poke the meat with it which is exactly when the shopping cart harness thingy comes in real handy again.

So, happy shopping!

And, if you want to checkout Peapod, here’s a coupon code for you: BLOG2010.**

Give it a chance; it will change your life!

Have a Mom Tip to share?  Link up every Tuesday right here @ pBd.

*I don’t go around picking up random teenagers to watch my kids and if I did I wouldn’t bribe them with alcohol.  That would be wrong.

**I was invited to take a behind-the-line tour of the Peapod shopping floor in Gaithersburg, MD.  As part of this event I was given a $50 gift card to Peapod which I happily redeemed.  I am a dedicated Peapod customer now with my next delivery scheduled for Wednesday.  The coupon code provided entitles you to $15 off your order and expires 6/30/2010.


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  2. says

    HAHAHA! I have been known to put my 4 year old in time-out in the grocery store, (only needed to happen once), and carry my one year old out under my arm like a football, (along with BAGS of merchandise), after very foolishly thinking he could be unrestrained for *only* ten minutes.

  3. says

    Sometimes I REALLY miss living in the city… this is also why I don’t have cute shoes. I love Mom Tip Tuesday, though.

  4. says

    You crack me up. I would give anything for a shopping delivery service. Living in podunkville assures me that it won’t ever happen. *sigh*

    There aren’t many times that we have to take the kids, as we usually try to go on a Sunday while one of us stays home with the kids. It doesn’t always work though.

  5. says

    I keep thinking about trying peapod! Oh–and as far as making the hubby come.. I have tried that, and at least with my husband (who I adore)- can never ever ever do it again. He is quite possibly worse than my daughter- he hems and haws over things and spends I cant tell you how long to decide whether or not to buy something!

  6. says

    I want to know why all husbands give the stink eye attitude when asked to watch the kiddos so mom can do the grocery shopping alone…it’s not like she’s going on vacation or hanging with her friends but somehow, “I need to go to the grocery store alone” get’s interpreted as “I’m leaving to have super fun alone time, see you later sucker!”

    What up with that Dumb Mom?? What up with that?

    BlogBaby’s BabyMama

  7. says

    Too bad I don’t live in Giant land.

    And by embarrassing do you mean like the time when Baby Girl was two and she was ready to get out of the store and the line was super long and she walked up to the older lady in front of us and slapped her on the butt.

    Oh yes, she did.

  8. says

    First of all….stop going to Wally World. I hate that place too…although the one in my area just got an extreme makeover and is actually quite nice now….organized, clean, bright and airy w/ larger aisles…and did I say it’s clean?!! Anyway, I have cut my grocery bill drastically by learning to coupon….as in $109 in food for $13 or $67 for $4.73. Seriously. Anyway, I used to shop at wallyworld alone in the evenings but now I shop at the “nice” grocery stores (Harris Teeter is the best) and I have to take 2 of my 3 kids w/ me when I go earlier in the day. Yes, it can be nightmarish but my biggest suggestion?! Pack lunches for the kids and make sure u have snacks as well. The store we shop in has free cookies in the bakery dept so we swing through there a couple times! Keeping food in the mouths is the only way I can keep my little girls (2 and 4) from fighting and trying to jump out of the cart. Tip #2…be organized! Have your list ready and your coupons together as well. If you know what you are going for then you’ll be in-and-out much aster than if you walk in there aimlessly w/ no plan. That is a MUST!! Yes, it isn’t always 100% smooth and painless and yes I still avoid shopping w/ my kids as much as possible but these 2 tips make such trips a little bit easier for everyone!

  9. says

    I have experienced my fair share of grocery store disasters! Now my hubby does the grocery shopping! He is much less suceptible to impulse purchases so it is a win for everyone!

  10. says

    Haha! You seriously crack me up every. single. time. I come here. lol (FYI: I’m using a subtle form of flattery like Mama Kat suggested in her last post. Bwahahaha.) We must have the same kids, really. A lot of what you say kind of parallels my everyday life with my kids. And like you, I don’t like to shop with them alone. I’m all about bribing the hubby with snacks and sex to get him to come along with me. lol
    Great post! Have a great evening. :)

    Kristi, Live and Love…Out Loud

  11. says

    Oh, I so need that. Used to have free childcare in the grocery store for ages 3 and up when we were back in Pittsburgh. I loved to go grocery shopping then.

    Now? Nope, it’s a freaking nightmare.

  12. Rachel @ Mommy Needs a Vacation says

    Man you crack me up!! I have finally put my foot down: I either go on the weekend by MYSELF or we go as a family so hubby can man the kids while I frantically throw stuff in the cart. I prefer to go alone: my mini vaca of that day!