Months ago, I published a post about shopping with multiples and what it looked like shopping with three kids two and under and how shopping and errand running with them had evolved over the years.
The post was to help other twin moms but then I received a flood of questions and feedback from moms with multiple singleton children about this idea in my post. I then realized, this tip for shopping could benefit all moms and their children.
How I Came About This Best Tip to Make Shopping with Kids Easier and Enjoyable:
One day, as my older son was pushing a play cart around our home pretending to shop, I got a great idea. I got online and looked for a child’s cart that looked like a real grocery cart and ordered it. 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 from Target to Half Price Bookstore, Container Store to Grocery Stores and more. And this shopping cart really is the best! I like the carts which look just like the adult grocery carts, not the plastic play carts. Everyone always asks me where I purchased the carts and comments on them.
Yes, some stores, such as Trader Joe’s, are starting to catch up to what a splendid idea this is and are now providing little carts for their little “customers.” A friend just posted pictures of a store in North Carolina, Musten and Crutchfield, where they even provide the exact same carts that I’ve been recommending which impressed me as a great store commitment to think about the little things that make their customers’ shopping experience better. My boys love having their own carts that they can push around for any and every store..
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 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. 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. Grocery shopping with my boys starting with the age of two has been a success.
We all know that grocery shopping or errand running with kids can be treacherous. For me, personally, providing carts for my boys has made my life easier and shopping with them more enjoyable and interactive.
I hope my grocery cart idea might help you and that someday you too can thoroughly enjoy grocery store shopping and flying down an aisle sanely! But above all, when you walk into that store, remember those automatic doors are opening for you mamafriend! You can do it!