Shopping with the Kiddos

My kiddos go most everywhere with me, including grocery shopping. I know, go ahead and ask – Are you crazy? Aren’t you afraid you’ll lose one of them? The answer is YES, but I take them with me anyway!

Shopping with my kiddos certainly is challenging, but we have some simple rules that we follow to make things easy, as well as time and money saving. Can I share them with you?

Never shop hungry
I try to strategically plan the best time of day so as to avoid unnecessary items ending up in our shopping basket. You know the items about which I am talking – the cookies, snacks, and total junk food. We all know that these items are not great additions to the every day diet, because they are just not healthy. But, we like to keep them out of our cart for another reason, as well… the snacks sure add up quickly and can suck that budget!

Always have a plan
As I mentioned the other day, I typically try to plan for two weeks’ worth of meals at a time. This means my shopping trips usually consist of nutritious ingredients for healthy meals. Now, I’m not generally a “by the list” kind of gal, but a shopping list is a must! I find that if I have a list, I generally stick to it, saving time and money. Protein-rich foods – like milk, yogurt and eggs – are high on the list, and are a part of every meal, as well as fruits and veggies.

Have the kids help
My older kiddos are usually pretty good about helping me keep an eye on the younger kids, but they also help me gather the items from my shopping list. They are just the right height to grab the canned goods off the shelves and throw them in the cart (literally!). So, don’t be afraid to let the kids help… If they are busy helping, they won’t keep asking for this or that!

Don’t give in
Impulse buying is not only the biggest culprit to breaking the budget, but it leads to unhealthy food choices, as well. Don’t grab that bag of chips at the end of the aisle, just because they’re on sale. And certainly don’t give in to your children who are begging for a bag of licorice, or a bottle of chocolate milk! Make a rule – Do not ask mommy for anything. My kids know that one all too well!

Do you have any rules when you are shopping with your kids?


  1. wv_mom says

    I don’t have much of a choice most of the time but to big kiddos in tow. I generally follow all of those rules, but I have 2 more additions.

    1. I try to go to stores with them that have larger family friendly buggies, in other words at least a few sets to strap them into. I prefer to strap them as far apart from each other as possible, but now a days since I have 3 small children, the two older ones usually sit beside of each other (and I have to worry about them picking on each other the whole trip). The buggies with cars on the front are great for distracting the kiddos, but are very hard to push when filled with groceries, just a warning. And oh yeah, make sure to check that the seatbelts are all working before putting the kids in (and then having to remove them and put them in another one). You definately want straps, it is better for them reaching unneccisary items, and it keeps them from falling out – well helps prevent them from falling out anyway.

    2. My other rule is to check the cart (and the little car on the front) for extras before getting to the register (and again during the checkout process). My kids will throw all kinds of random stuff into the cart if thier hands can reach it. So I just make sure it doesn’t make it into my purchase.

    I didn’t mean for this reply to be so long, I guess I got carried away. Easy to do when thinking of the horror of facing the store on Saturday with the kids. LOL.

  2. Stam House says

    Wow this is a great post! I love your first rule and it’s mine too!

    Great tips thanks for sharing!

  3. Kristin says

    Your rules are basicly my rules. NEVER EVER go without eating first. For two reasons. Meltdowns, and well I find myself buying the worst things and totally being off task.

  4. Amber says

    I have 2 daughters and now that they are older they are really a help. They are 10 and almost 13. They don’t always shop with me but when they do they load the cart, unload the cart and even put the bags in the car. They are also real good about helping put them away.

    My biggest thing was making them understand that going to the store doesn’t mean they are “getting something”. I know people who’s kids throw tantrums if they don’t get to buy something every trip to the store. thankfully my girls understood it very early on and I didn’t have little girls screaming through the store because they wanted to buy a new doll.


  5. ELLIE says

    when my kids were growing up – we pretty much had the same rules as you – as they got older – I used to give them their own lists to shop for – that way I did not have to get it all – then my kids did the cooking (they loved to eat what they wanted) so as long as it was in our budget they bought the ingredients they wanted – my kids made some fantastic thanksgiving dinners that would blow your mind – I am very blessed to have had them shopping with me – I think that taught them alot about budgets and looking for bargains etc…
    thanks for sharing your rules

  6. Sarah H. says

    Good advice! I always regret it later when I shop hungry or impulse buy. Having a plan is the way to go!