How To Make Grocery Shopping With Kids Fun And Stress Free

Preview: Simple tips for how to make grocery shopping kids friendly plus list of ideas how your child can help and feel useful while shopping {free printable}.

Recently I whiteness scene at a grocery store that sticked to my mind.
Mom peacefully picking stuff from the shelf, while two boys, about 4 and 6 year old, laying on their tummies next to cart, playing/pushing each other and licking floor.

Goose bumps went over my body. I couldn’t hear distant chatting any more. I couldn’t hear mom yelling at them. That is because she didn’t yell! Mom was absolutely calm, she only looked at them and continued her work, while the boys were quiet in their game.

But my heart was screaming: Poor mama! I felt sad.

To what point you have to lose your sanity and calmly, without a word, watch your kids licking grocery store floor?

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The secret weapon how to make grocery shopping kids friendly

I work hard to get the best of my kids. I guide, tell stories and try to set up good example. In the process of learning I discovered what works the best for our family.

There are two key points of how you can have peaceful grocery shopping with your kids.

It is not a science, it is not magic, and it is not easy as eating candies.

First key is intention.

Your intention as a parent that everything will go peaceful. You have truly believe things will go smoothly. Your child can do it like every other child.
Often what we expect from our children’s behaviour is what we get.

Second key is find purpose. Make your child useful.

Every child likes to help. So why don’t you give them opportunity to help you with such a big task as grocery shopping. Entertained child will be content and cooperate.

Related: Peek in to  chore list for kids and find how to get housework done with keeping your toddler happy.


7 ridiculously easy tips to survive grocery shopping with kids

To be prepared for what is coming here are some tips for you. And after I will give you list of ideas how your child can help and feel useful.

1. Plan ahead
Plan ahead how your child can help. Have ready activities or games they can play to be entertained.

2. Have a shopping list with you
Having a list you will help your child embrace good habits early. Not only you can save money and stay in budget with buying only things from your list,  you can also teach your child about a valuable rule of not buying anything except items from the list.

For older children would be great to participate in making a list at home with you. Like a family, you all decide what will you buy next time in a grocery store.

For younger kids I recommend story telling to give them concept idea.

Here is where Daniel Tiger helped us a lot, and there is one story on a same theme with Peppa Pig . My daughter just turned three but after watching this particular episode and talking about it, she knows if she sees something that she wants right now, we ‘can’t‘ take it – simply because it is not on our shopping list. She needed some encouragement and reminders but after few times it worked without fuss.

Here is link to the episode I truly recommend to watch: Daniel Cant Get What He Wants.

3. Basic needs fulfilled
Make sure you are all fed and rested.
I know it is easier to say than do it but if you plan well it could work out. Hungry and tired child will likely have a meltdown without any special reason. Having that in mind, you can easily avoid it.

Many studies had shown that kids react well on a routine, but that doesn’t men you have follow your daily routine blindly. Maybe you don’t have to do your grocery shopping ‘that morning’ when everything goes wrong, or your child is not feeling well. Let yourself to improvise, move your shopping for couple of hours or improvise your meals for that day and go the next day.
If you know your child is need snack soon, take Munchie Mug Snack Cup with you.

4. Set up rules
It is good idea to set up rules at home and remind kids before you get out from the car. That way you all have a deal to stick on. It is much easier to convince my daughter about something that we talked before if she is familiar with it and will accept it easier.

Some of our rules are:

  • we are not buying anything that is not on our list
  • she have to either sit in a cart or if she walks next to me she has to hold cart all the time
  • if she stars to fuss around and things get out the control, we will leave the store immediately,
  • if she is well behaved she will get sticker for her reward chart when we get home.

5. Be patient
Being patient is hard when kids won’t obey but together with your positive intention I mentioned earlier it becomes easier.
If your child won’t cooperate just remember that he might be bored or feeling not enough entertained.

In the end of this post you will find free printable that you can have in your wallet in case you need help with remembering these tips and staying focused. You can also write down your own rules.

Download free printable:
Make grocery shopping kids friendly

Powerful affirmation that helps me in a hard moments to stay calm:

Positive affirmations for moms to stay calm and patient with kids. Inspirational quote for moms

Related: 20+ powerful daily affirmations that will make you the calmest mom on the block

6. Be creative
The more ideas you have how to keep your child entertained, the more successful it will be. With enough ideas you can have plan B, C, D… Eventually you will have few activities that works the best for you and your child. Rotate them frequently so they won’t become bored and don’t be afraid to try something new.

You may pack little backpack ready to go with few activities, games and little snack. There are really cute and practical toddler backpacks available in different sizes and fun shapes. The Ultimate Backpack  shared useful guide you should check out.

7. Praise
Acknowledge your child. Praise for the good work done and for all the help. They will wanna do more to please you next time. You can also reward your child if that is something you do in your family. It doesn’t have to be a toy or something from the store, it can simply be an activity your child likes, like one extra story before bed time, or one extra game.

So far reward chart works the best for us. When we start new reward chart she gets to pick stickers and reward like cake, ice cream, new toy from our ‘surprise toy box’ or visit to special park that she loves but is a bit far from our house and we don’t go there often.

TIP: There is one little hack to make shopping easier if you have baby or toddler. Comfy hygienic shopping cart cover for protecting your baby from dirty shopping trolleys or public high chairs can be real life saver.

shopping cart or public high cair coverPhoto source:

They are also great for keeping  baby’s snacks, water bottle and toys inside the seat and you know its clean!

I just hated my baby touching cart and then putting her hands into mouth. Making this cover was easy project giving me peace of mind that she is somehow ‘protected’ from dirt and germs. I encourage you to invest in one of these covers (or sewing pattern), there is wide variety of choices available on where you can request custom order.


Activities to make grocery shopping with kids fun and easy

There is a couple of ideas your child can help you with:

  • Let them find and spot groceries from your list.
  • Pass him groceries and let him put them in the cart.
  • If they don’t wanna sit in the cart in charge them to hold/push cart with you
  • Let them carry something light, especially something that is just for them.

My daughter loves oranges. She will always want to carry orange and feel super proud.

Fun games to play in a grocery store

  • I spy
  • Grocery scavenger hunt (you can search Pinterest to find ABC, colour or item scavenger hunt printables)
  • Spot the colour (you suggest colour and they need to name items that they see in that colour)
  • ABC games ( if they know alphabet they can sort items in alphabetical order from A-Z, if they don’t just do same as with colour, you say letter and they have to spot items starting with that letter)
  • Simon Says
  • Find more grocery store game  ideas  on
  • take busy bag with you, some simple travel activity child can play or portable dry erase board

Once when you come home, don’t stop.

My daughter loves to help me get groceries from the car to the kitchen. There are also some great ideas of chore list for kids  you can try out.

Don’t ever be that poor mama who gave up on grocery shopping with kids.

If you know mama who would benefit from these tips, please share this article.

Download free printable:
Make grocery shopping kids friendly

  • You will get a list of the tips, ideas and games for your next grocery shopping with kids.
  • Add your own grocery shopping rules, activities or games.
  • Print cheat sheet and hang it on your fridge so you can plan ahead.
  • Print one wallet copy to have it in your car or better yet keep it in your wallet so you will have it when emergency arises.

Have fun and let me know in the comments how did it go.

Useful tips and ideas how to make grocery shopping with kids pleasant for everyone. You will find creative ideas, games to play to entertain kids and activities for kids while shopping. Click to read tips and to get printable cheat sheet.



Lily Zunic

I believe every person is creative and every craft project is beautiful when you create for the journey of your heart.

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