Taking Your Kids Grocery Shopping


I know that to a lot of you, those two things don't mix well.
And I totally understand that.

For some moms, the grocery shopping is the time during the week when they can sip a mocha, slowly walk the aisles looking for deals, and quietly get all their foodstuffs while a babysitter or their husband watches the kiddos.

From the beginning though, I always took my kids with me; for a couple reasons. First, for me it was the only option. I could have asked my husband to watch them in the evenings while I went out, but I really cherish those quiet evening at home as a family. Second, I saw the shopping trips as training grounds, like most of life. And my children sure needed training.

And I'll be the first to tell you that it hasn't always been peaches and cream. I have left a cart full of groceries in the store to go have a 'talk' with an ornery child in the car; we have had spills, messes, bodily leaks and accidents. And there were times when I wanted to give in and go shopping all by myself. I look back to the early years when I had a 5 year old, 2 year old and 10 month old and wonder how I did it, but I did.

And now that they are older? They still come with me, and have become my helpers. I didn't really realize this until a couple of weeks ago, when I needed to go shopping and they were all busy doing school or playing, so I decided to run out to do it by myself.

It took me twice as long.

And that was when I realized that all that hard work was paying off. All those times I patiently held the produce bag while they slowly put the oranges in, walked the aisles with them holding onto the sides of the cart, and helped them lift the gallons of milk into the cart.

They have become my helpers and I honestly, couldn't do it as well without them.

So last week when we did our weekly shopping, I embarrassed my crew by bringing my point and click camera with me.

First stop: produce.

I have my list all ready, and I give each child something to get. Of course, I inspect it before it goes into the cart.

Dasher is busy with the green onions.....

Today Nutsy decided to be a passenger in the cart. I have a rule, that there is only one switch in the entire shopping trip; if she decides to get out, she can't get back in.

We make our choices wisely, and talk about the decisions we are making. About the price, the fruit that is too hard or too soft, and I share with them all my veggie secrets - like the one for picking cucumbers. (Good ones have firm ends.)

With all of them getting 4 things at once, in no time we are moving on to the bulk section.

Sometimes there are samples, and all good helpers deserve a short break.

This is my weekly shopping so we aren't picking up any non-perishables, and so we head down the aisles to just get tortillas.

I haven't pushed the cart in a few years.

Milk and eggs get bought every week...Mr. Lego was quite embarrassed that I took his picture.

Sorry, buddy.

Bookworm getting the milk....

The entire time, I am consulting The Shopping List.

Another rule I have is that if it isn't on the list, it isn't in the cart, which puts the kibosh to the endless asking for treats.

But I do make sure to every now and then have a treat on the list.

Check-out time and my helpers are busier than ever.

One of the cool things about the store we shop at, is that you, or rather your kids, get to bag up the groceries. And the employees are very considerate when they see the kids doing it, and always save our bread, eggs and fragile veggies to go last down the conveyer belt.

Big helpers.... (Mr Lego was on a camera strike so I didn't get anymore of him helping.)

On our way out...

And the race is on.
Their goal in recent months has been to get the grocery bags unloaded into the trunk, the cart put away, and themselves into their seats by the time I start the car.

And they make it every time.

With their help we are in and out of the store in 30 minutes, with all my groceries for the week.

And my job? Is to point out the right brands, veto the squishy fruit, break up any fight, (which do happen occasionally), and remind them to slow down with the cart.

Even though it is hard when they are young to take them shopping, remember that those little mess makers helpers, will one day really be helping you.

And you, will be needing them.


  1. I loved this post, Charlotte!! You have no idea how much you've encouraged me by this. I always take my kids shopping with me. ALWAYS.
    Since they're newborns and I plan on doing it when they're much older. And like you said, its not always peaches and cream... we've had our moments. But they're few and far between and I think its because we've learned lessons and have matured along the way.
    Ethan helps me a lot now and Rachel is starting to be willing and ready as well! Kara rides in the cart still and is my chatting friend - she and I do a ton of talking while we shop :)
    I love my kids knowing I love having them with me and I'm like you - I do not want to exchange time with Jase or the weekends for shopping.

    Anyway, loved this post. You've given me so much to look forward to and it was encouraging to see how this has paid off for your family.

  2. Stef. I am so glad to hear that you take them with you! I am sad when I hear that a lot of moms leave their kids at home...I feel that in some way they are missing out. And realizing a couple weeks ago that something in my parenting was paying off was encouraging to me....sometimes I just see the day in-day out problems and think I am getting nowhere.

    You are huge encouragement to me too, friend. :-)


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