Before kids I used to happily peruse the supermarket aisles, slowly selecting interesting new items, scrutinizing labels and creating a few evening meals in my head as I shopped. Now I have three small kids and my creative shopping days are over. I run through the store and I am lucky if I get half of the essentials that I need to get through the week.
With small children in tow, visits to the supermarket can be unproductive and filled with anxiety. An extra twenty minutes of indecision, waiting at the deli, or travelling unneeded aisles, is just enough time for kids to lose their marbles and cause the parent to flee the store, shopping incomplete.
Supermarket shopping must get done, and bringing the children, for the majority of parents, is the only viable option.
- Create a weekly menu. On Sunday, find 7 simple dinner recipes made with basic, healthy ingredients. Include an easy lunch menu for 7 days and then decide breakfast choices for the week. The Food Network website yields hundreds of tasty, easy to prepare meal ideas like beef stroganoff and tacos. Writing a weekly menu will relieve the stress that families feel each evening when deciding what's for dinner, leaving more time and energy for family time. My favourite website for mean ideas is www.taste.com.au/
- Make a list. Using the weekly menu, make a shopping list on the front of a plain envelope of all of the items needed to prepare the week's breakfast, lunch and dinner meals. The food list complete, go through the house and add to the list, beverages, paper, cleaning, and bath and beauty products running low. A pad of paper and pen in an accessible area lets family members jot down items they need. Put the receipts in the envelope and save the coupons you have earned for your next trip.
- Pack your BuggyCart™. No shopping trip with the kids is complete without the BuggyCart™. Imagine NEVER needing to push the dreaded shopping trolley around ever again! All you need to do is strap the BuggyCart™ to your stroller and you have an extra 150L of storage for all your shopping needs. Have you ever tried to make your way around the mall with a shopping trolley full of groceries and a pack of kids? Not only is it impossible its extremely dangerous. With a BuggyCart™ you will never need to wake your child during your grocery shop and you will never need to push a heavy, unsafe, unhygienic, trolley around a shopping centre or carpark ever again. If you live close to the mall you can even walk to and from the shops with your full shopping in tow. Get your BuggyCart™ here www.buggycart.com.au.
- Choose off-peak hours. It is much more efficient and pleasant to schedule supermarket visits when the store is empty. Mornings, after people are at work and older children are in school, are quiet in grocery stores and lines are short or non-existent. Take note when visiting or just call and ask a store manager, "When is the store is at its most quiet?" Schedule visits during off-peak hours. Workers are much more pleasant and helpful on a whole when not facing hoards of impatient customers.
- Hug the perimeter. The healthiest items in the supermarket are found along the perimeter of the store. Fresh produce, meats and seafood, and the dairy cases all sit along the outer edges. The majority of shopping time should be spent along the perimeter.
- Make sure the kids are well-rested and well-fed. A sleepy child is a grumpy child. A hungry one in a supermarket? Disastrous. Before leaving the house, make sure your kids have gotten enough sleep and eaten a substantial meal. You cold even pack them a lunch box for the road. This will keep them from throwing tantrums in the candy isle.
- Give the kids little tasks. It will make them feel important and instil in them a sense of responsibility. Small things like comparing used-by dates, picking out the reddest apples, and locating the checkout counter with the shortest queue will let kids know that they also have a role in running the house. Don't forget to thank them afterwards!
- Play a grocery game together. Give your kids a piece of paper and a crayon each. Ask them to list down all the grocery items they will see that:
- start with the letter 'C'
- are blue
- are round
When you're in the car or at home, you can tally who has the longest list for each category. The winner gets to pick out the reward of his or her choice on the next market day. Come up with new categories they can work on to keep them occupied while you do the grocery shopping.
- Ask for help. Supermarket workers are knowledgeable and generally willing to help. Instead of wandering the aisles in search of a product, ask. Staff will often go out of their way to locate a hard to find item. The butcher can slice cuts of meat and chicken exactly as recipes call for, saving prep time at home.
- Check it off. Bring a pen and cross items off of the list as you put them in the BuggyCart™ or trolley, or you will waste time checking and rechecking your list.
Grocery shopping need not be a tedious task but is still an essential life skill to teach your kids. With a little bit of patience and creativity, they can be helpful hands when doing the groceries.
The BuggyCart™ The world-first shopping-cart for your pram
The BuggyCart™ is the world-first shopping-cart for your pram. It fits easily onto almost every single pram with adjustable straps. When not in use it folds up to fit into the bottom of your pram and can be used as a very handy tote bag. With a BuggyCart™ you will never need to wake your child during your grocery shop and you will never need to push a heavy, unsafe, unhygienic, trolley around a shopping centre again. Shopping is fun...