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How to go grocery shopping with kids

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

How to... shop with kids

Grocery shopping with your little ones can be difficult. However, you can't always get a babysitter just because you have to go to the market. With these tips, you can make grocery shopping with kids a whole lot easier.
Mom with toddler in grocery store

Step 1: Be prepared

If you have kids in tow, it's essential to make your grocery list before leaving home and stick to it once you get to the market. You want to get in and out as quickly as possible. Post a list on the refrigerator at home and ask your family to add to it whenever they empty something or need something new.

Step 2: Pick the right time

During peak hours, the grocery store can be a madhouse. Know when your store is busy (usually mid-morning and right after 5 p.m.) and avoid those times if at all possible. If you have a 24-hour grocery store and your kids get up early, try shopping at crack of dawn to avoid the rush.

Step 3: Keep them entertained

Grocery shopping can be boring for young kids. Keep small toys or other interesting items in your diaper bag or purse for kids to play with whenever you are at the grocery store.

Step 4: Feed them ahead of time

No one -- adults or kids -- likes to shop when they are hungry and irritable. Feed your children before you leave home and bring along some emergency snacks in case they get hungry along the way. If you don't mind a sugary treat, give your kids colorful lollipops at the store. They take a long time to eat and keep children busy.

Step 5: Make it a learning experience

If the store isn't crowded and your kids aren't fussy, you can actually turn grocery shopping into a fun learning experience. Talk about where the different foods come from. Allow little ones to pick out their own fruits and vegetables. Teach older kids the difference between whole and processed foods, how to read nutrition labels and how to compare prices.

Step 6: Give them plenty of praise

Kids love praise. Before you head to the store, discuss what you expect from your children in terms of behavior. While you are there, give them plenty of praise for their patience and good behavior. When you get home, repeat the praise and thank them for helping you.

More parenting how-tos

How to become a more easygoing mom
How to make over your kid's bedroom on a budget
How to sneak in a little me time

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