Shopping along with 2 kids can be a daunting task, especially if they are very young. Here are some tips to make your first and every outing run smoothly!
Every time I go to the grocery store, someone inevitably sees me wearing Owen and pushing Ryan in the cart (or on my hip.. that happens a lot too!) and says some form of, “God bless you.” I don’t know how it is where you live, but here in NJ that phrase is usually more of a show of pity and awe than an actual blessing. And it’s because taking a barely-2-year-old and a 2-month-old to the grocery store by yourself can be scary. To be honest, some days when I know I need to make a grocery run I dread getting the boys ready and heading there. But I suck it up and go because you know, I’m hungry.
After count trips shopping with a baby and a toddler, I feel like somewhat of an expert (I kid!) so I thought I would share my knowledge with anyone who is looking to survive shopping alone with 2 kids.
How to Survive Shopping Alone With 2 Kids
-Choose your time wisely. Things to keep in mind: what times and days are most busy at your grocery store? What times are our children the crankiest, neediest, or easily upset? Avoid these times. For us, in the morning right after I feed Owen after his first nap work best for us. Ryan is well rested, has eaten, and also gotten a bit of his wiggles out, and Owen is full and happy. I have found that if we go after Ryan’s nap it’s a disaster. Remember also that these times may change – after Ryan’s nap used to be the ideal time for us to go.
-Wear the smallest child. I could sit here all day long and preach to you about babywearing, but I won’t because that’s annoying. What I will say is that wearing the smallest of your crew – be it in a wrap, sling or structured carrier – is my number one tip for how to survive shopping along with kids. Yes, you could put the car seat in the cart but if you have more than a few items it gets tricky. Plus, your oldest can turn around and poke him and wake him up. Not speaking from experience of anything..
-Bring a list. I have always taken a list with me to the grocery store, but it’s usually a half-assed attempt at one in the notes of my phone. Nope, won’t cut it. Create a list as detailed as possible and categorized. Write the exact amount of tomatoes you need and put them under “produce”. You have enough to worry about with multiple kids – don’t also worry if you remembered everything you needed.
-Know your kids’ limits. Look, you can have the sweetest, most patient kid in the world – even he has a limit to how long he is willing to sit nicely in a grocery cart. I know that if we get too far past the 30-minute mark, Ryan will start to get restless and either want to be held or climb out. So I try to keep my shopping shorter than that OR have a secret backup to give him if I’m taking longer than expected – a special snack, toy or an app on my phone are perfect for these moments.
-Bring a snack from home. Toddlers get hungry always. If I go to the store with Ryan and forget to bring a snack, I end up buying one because as soon as we get to the produce he’s screaming, “APAHHHH!” at all of the produce, regardless of it being an apple or not. Let’s just say it doesn’t end pretty. I usually cut up some apple slices and throw them into a plastic bag to bring with us. No matter what you bring, make sure it’s very clear that you brought it from home.
-Be prepared for it to take longer than anticipated. I’ve made the mistake many times of going to the store and expecting it to take X amount of time so I can be home by a certain time and make lunch/dinner. BAD idea. Do not put a time limit on your shopping, since it will only add a layer of stress that you do not need right now. Give yourself all the time in the world, that way if it takes longer because your toddler wants to stop and touch all.the.things you’re not in jeopardy of messing up the rest of your day.
-Avoid eye contact. My final tip may seem harsh. but hear me out. Anytime I got to the store and accidently make eye contact with someone, they strike up a conversation with my, complimenting my children and asking questions. This is so lovely, and I am always flattered when people tell me nice things about my kids (obviously) but it also means an extra 5 minutes that Ryan is sitting in the grocery cart. Like I noted above, every kid has his limit of how long he is willing to sit in a cart or behave in public. If you stop and chat with every stranger who wants to know if your kid if a good big brother, you’re taking away time that your kid will keep his cool while shopping. So be rude and avoid eye contact for your own sake. You can be Chatty Cathy in a few years.
So tell me – do you have any tips for keeping your sanity while shopping? How do you survive shopping along with kids? Let me know in the comments!
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