I received the following question from Tammy.
I was wondering if you had tips for shopping with kids – especially in the checkout.
I just started price matching and although my savings are great, I just realized that last week at Walmart there was a major error on my bill. Bagels @ $3.29, price matched at $1.79 but cashier entered $4.97.
With the kids it is tough to get prices and make sure the prices are entered correctly.
Shopping with little ones can be a challenge, but it’s certainly possible to do so without someone having a meltdown.
Here are my tips for shopping with young children.
1. Find child care.
I know, I know. This post is supposed to be about shopping WITH children. However, I just wanted to stress how much easier shopping is when you’re alone. If you can’t seem to find someone to watch your children while you shop, that’s okay. There are still ways you can shop peacefully.
2. Bring snacks.
This is something that we have always done with Elliott and it works very well at keeping him distracted. Make sure you have a few different types of snacks, because if you don’t, it is possible that they will get bored of the snack you have chosen. If you have an infant that is not yet eating solid food, I suggest bringing a few small toys instead. These items are especially important in the checkout line.
3. Shop with a list.
I always recommend shopping with a list for any type of shopping that you need to do because it’s not only a money saver, but a time saver as well – and when you’re shopping with children, the sooner you are finished shopping, the better.
4. Tell them “no” before you shop.
Make sure that your child knows why you are going into the store before you do so. Show them your list and let them know that you will only be buying the items you have on there and nothing more. This usually helps with the “Can I have this?! Can I have this?!” issue in the store.
5. Let them help.
I’ve noticed that Elliott is really only upset when I don’t let him help with the shopping and just strap him into the seat of the grocery cart. If I let him walk around and get the items that I need off of the shelves for me, he’s usually very happy, quiet and cooperative. It takes a bit longer to shop this way, so I don’t recommend it if you’re in a hurry, but if you have the time, try letting your child help you collect the grocery items and put them into the cart.
6. Give rewards/praise.
If your children behave well while you are shopping, always remember to praise them. A simple “thank you for being so well behaved” is all that’s necessary, but if they were exceptionally good, give them a small treat. I usually have a cookie or two tucked away in my purse that I will give to Elliott if he was a good boy in the store.
Remember, children don’t often like to sit still for long periods of time, so don’t expect them to endure an hour long shopping trip stuck in a grocery cart.
Involve them in what you are doing and they are likely to be much more well-behaved.