Grocery Store Hacks for Parents

kid at the grocery

Kids are awesome, but they tend to get hungry—like every day—and as their parents and sole providers, we are expected to feed them. Crazy, right? I'm willing to bet that most of us fall somewhere between scrounging in the couch for crumbs and picture-perfect meal prepping. So, let's talk grocery store strategies. Take it from this mom of twins: If I can do it, so can you.

Go Alone

Being able to go to the grocery story alone is the dream! Waltzing down the aisles of Target, pausing in the face mask section to consider an evening of self-care before picking up exactly what you need and nothing more  from the refrigerated goods section... If you have the luxury of a partner willing to hold down the fort while you visit a store or two, this option is the best on the list.

Don't Go at All

What's even better than a solo trip to the grocery store? No trip at all. Using a grocery delivery service is an incredibly freeing feeling and totally worth the delivery fee. I'm happy to let someone else choose my apples if it means a dozen don't end up rolling around on the floor of my local grocery store because one of my kids tried to snatch one from the bottom of the pyramid. Shipt, Amazon Fresh, Instacart and more all offer these future-is-now style services that will keep your kids fed and you in your house slippers.

Stock Up

Having a Costco membership is a dream when it comes to packing lunches, snack time and dinner prep. If you can't make option number one—leaving the kiddos at home—happen, you can keep your kids happy by trying out samples and pop by the concessions area for some frozen yogurt or a hot dog halfway through your inevitably multi-hour visit to keep them fed. Pro-tip: Check Instagram  for trending products you didn't even know you couldn't live without. Another quick hack: Instacart also delivers from Costco (see options two, above), so you can score products without even being a member.

Make It Fun

A game of "I Spy" or a scavenger hunt can get you far at a very boring, very normal grocery store. Games distract the kids and might even help you tackle your list even faster.

Put Them in Charge

Speaking of, there's nothing wrong with letting the kids do a little bit of the work sometimes. I don't even push a cart of my own inside Trader Joe's because each of my twins likes to push her own mini cart and jockey for product. My job becomes keeping their carts away from everyone else's ankles, but it's worth it because we all leave happy.

Try the Carrots

Small rewards can work wonders if your kids aren't exactly thrilled to accompany you  in the first place. Mine can be bribed with stickers (possibly their favorite reward, ever since potty training), or in extreme cases, sweet treats for the ride home.

Keep It Light

This tip works for life—and not just grocery store trips. Try to keep your sense of humor close when you're shopping with your kids. This is a work-in-progress for me, but aside from the occasional odd look from another customer, I'd rather watch my kids try on a bunch of random green feather boas in Target for five minutes than yell at them to get back in the cart 50 times. It's about balance, you know?

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