Have you ever chosen to shop at a certain store only because they have certain carts that accommodate your children and not because that store has the best prices or even all the items you need? If you have twins, I know you have answered yes! This post contains some affiliate links. I love going to the grocery store with my children. Honestly, I do. Involving your child, or children, with a trip to the grocery store is an excellent hands-on educational and memorable experience.
Now, I know most people might find me a bit unstable for spending 2-3 hours at a grocery store with my children and actually enjoying that time spent. And don’t get me wrong, I still have my moments reevaluating my own sanity and trying to answer the question “Now why do I enjoy this?” But mostly grocery store ventures can be enjoyable for all.
Months before my twins were born; I spent time sleuthing the city’s chain grocery stores, searching for carts that would accommodate all three of my boys so that I could still manage grocery store shopping after the arrival of the twins.
I asked other moms of twins what they did, and the majority of them told me that they would have the husband go or wait until the husband was home and they would go, or someone would stay home with the children or some of the children while the other makes a grocery run. Unfortunately, since my husband travels so much, this wasn’t an option for me, and I know it isn’t an option for many other moms.
Not going to the store wasn’t an option either as I try to feed my kids fresh food prepared at home. And well, let’s face it, eating at home vs one adult managing three young boys at a restaurant, no thank you! There is also a great deal of money to be saved feeding three very-hungry-eating-boys at home from store bought food vs the expense of a restaurant, delivery or even fast-food.
Trials and Tribulations
When the twins were first born:I tried pushing the car seats in a double snap and go and had my older son walk. Now I love the snap and go for a singleton but hated the double snap and go for twins because I couldn’t easily get the food (or anything) in/out of the basket underneath. Since the snap-n-go didn’t work, I started pushing them in the stroller and would have my older son on the kick-board connected to the stroller. And sometimes I would push them in a stroller and push my older singleton in a large cart.
For a stroller, I used my amazing and life-saving Bugaboo Stroller with either the car seats or bugaboo bassinets when the twins were first born and pull my older son in a shopping cart. And YES the Bugaboo twin Stroller fits through ALL doorways!
The problem with the stroller and or the grocery cart with the built in steering wheels, so it looked like they were driving, is that I never had enough room in the carts for all the food needed. Then I still had the third child who was wanting to run off.I even tried baby wearing one child and then putting the other two in a cart, but still those carts are too small for the amount of food needed for my family for one week.
So sometimes, to get all the food we needed, I would push two big grocery carts and try to keep my older son walking along with us. There might even be some more unconventional combinations of carts and carriers as the first years come across as a partial blur now, two years later. And as much as I enjoy, or try to enjoy, grocery shopping with the three, more than one trip to the store a week would be too much even for me.
The BIG Glorious Change
One day, as my older son was pushing a play cart around our home pretending to shop, I got a great idea. I took this play cart to the store to see if it helped in managing him while grocery shopping. It worked so then I got online and looked for a child’s cart that looked like a real grocery cart and ordered it.
My son really loved this cart as it is more durable and looks like a real cart! Once I had the cart, every time I would go to the store, I would put the cart into the trunk and actually take it with me to every-single-store that I would shop at with the three boys. This shopping cart really is the best! Everyone always asks me where I purchased it.
Child’s Grocery Store Shopping Cart
When I tell people that I take our own child’s size grocery store shopping cart, stored in the garage ready to be thrown into the trunk for shopping, moms and dads always tell me why they love the idea but why it wouldn’t work for their child. They fear that their child would load up on food magically appearing in the child’s cart, run into people, be out of control, and make trips to the store harder rather than easier.
Initially, like any training with a child, whether potty training or teaching a child how to take turns, stand in a line, share, adopt an appreciation of books, sit at a table and not throw food, it takes time, disciplining and teaching from the parent. So, yes, I agree it wasn’t easy… in the beginning.
The first several, actually two months to be exact, my son did run over some feet and did hit into something, or someone, and or try to grab at whatever he could get his hands on. It wasn’t easy but isn’t all disciplining with children exerting? Through lots of patience and shorter grocery lists, I slowly taught my son how to push a cart along side of me or follow right behind me. And most of the people who he nudged thought his little cart and boyness so cute that they were smiling and trying to talk to him rather than complain. When my son did bump into someone, I would have him apologize; another lesson opportunity of awareness and manners being taught.
After we achieved this step of him being able to responsibly push a cart through a store, we started the next step of him actually helping me grocery shop. Fast forward two years: at the age of five, when we go to the store, my son has his own list of food to gather, he is able to pick out certain items, bag them, weigh them and put a sticker on them, then place into his own cart. And the cart might look small but it holds just enough of the overflow from my cart to help our family get all the groceries needed in one trip. I will be publishing more posts detailing the steps I have taken with my son getting him to the point of helping me grocery shop at the age of five, so stay tuned.
Another positive from working hard to discipline my older son to push his own cart in a store; the younger twin brothers have observed, learned and have easily transitioned into pushing their own carts now. I bought another cart, and again, I like the carts which look just like the adult grocery carts, not the plastic play carts, and grocery shopping with them at the age of two has been a success.
If you are a mom of multiples or twins and a singleton, like me, struggling with grocery shopping, I hope my grocery cart idea might help you and that someday you too can thoroughly enjoy grocery store shopping!But above all, when you walk into that store, remember those automatic doors are opening for you mamafriend! You can do it! Do you have any other ways of shopping with twins and multiples to share?
Every Tuesday we publish a post from moms of Multiples for the TwinZone Tuesdays. Are you a mom of multiples? Are you in the TwinZone? We would love to connect and hear from you!