There’s absolutely no doubt that supermarkets can be stressful places to be – and that’s without children. When you add in a baby, toddler, and six-year-old, or teenager all clamoring for your attention, and all wanting to buy things, it can be a huge challenge.
Here are some tips to make that dreaded shop a little easier, and to come out with what you came for – and nothing else!
Make a shopping list
Put a shopping list somewhere prominent in the kitchen and encourage everyone to add to it.
Before you go, take a quick scout about the kitchen. Look in the fridge, freezer and cupboards. Think about your menus for that week and write down the ingredients.
Make your list as visual and easy to read as possible. Even ring the items that you’ll find in different areas of the supermarket in different colours.
Eat before you shop
Never enter a supermarket hungry – and that especially applies to children.
If you’ve just done the school run, give your kids a biscuit/fruit and drink on the way. Just this simple action will put an end to having to buy expensive or inappropriate snacks as soon as you get there.
Choose your moment
If you have babies or toddlers, try to go to the supermarket when your energy – and theirs – is at its best. Try and leave with your list made, and the children in good form.
There’s nothing worse than hauling overtired children around a supermarket at 5pm, when your energy is at its lowest ebb and you still have to get back to cook the dinner.
Cut down on unnecessary trips
If you’re efficient with your lists and planning, you can get away with only going to the supermarket once a week, or fortnight.
Try not to have to hop in for a loaf of bread or some milk. Remember every trip in your car costs money in fuel, and every trip to the supermarket takes time. Moreover, you often come out with more than you bargained for.
Distraction and choice
Limit expectations. Have a chat to your children before you get into the supermarket and explain that you can’t buy everything they want.
Perhaps allow them to choose one small thing each, for instance a type of yogurt, a brand of biscuits, or some fruit. This way you give your children a little bit of power, and distract them from begging for everything else.
Putting away the shopping is something that children can enjoy – if you let them. Even a three-year-old can love the sorting element. They get to know their way around the kitchen, and where everything lives.
It might be a bit chaotic the first few times, and take longer than usual, but before long you can have some very handy helpers. Don’t look upon it as another of your chores, but take a Mary Poppins approach and make it fun. It can work!