I know this might sound strange but there is one thing that I look forward to every week, getting to go to the grocery store with my daughter. I know, I know most parents will be thinking I am crazy right about now, but hear me out. I have been a SAHM since my buggy was born. It was never a dream of mine to be a SAHM but it is what my husband and I chose in the end. I have worked the majority of my life so to not have a traditional job is very foreign to me.
When I was pregnant I felt like I still had a job somewhat. We had just moved into our house and so putting it together before she came was a full time job. I painted every inch, arranged all of the furniture and we were moving from a smaller place to a bigger place but with less storage; there was some major reorganizing to do. Not to mention the pregnancy with our biweekly doctors appointments and baby shopping. I was busy!
Once she came, off we went. We travelled with her a LOT that first year. We were gone more than we were home. Right after the holiday’s things slowed down and we stopped the traveling chaos. My days became about being home with her all day, everyday. My husband also works part time from home. Though this might sound all AWWWW, family time, it's not. You try keeping a 1-year-old quiet while daddy is on a work call. Can you say almost impossible!
So getting out of the house on days daddy is home became a joy and blessing. Like I said, I look forward to getting out with her even if it is just to the grocery store. To be fair, she has gone with me to the store every time but once when she was sick. I think that is important. If your kids rarely go with you they will not react the same as kids who go constantly! We have been doing this since she was 14 weeks old.
With that said, I am going to give you some tips and tricks I found worked for me from the infant stage to now.
Infant - Before they can sit they are easy in the store. Here are some things that worked for me...
Fill that Tummy! - You can do this while they are in the store, with a bottle or before you get there. Buggy and I would eat and then run to the store! Typical infant if she was full she would sleep! That should go for you too mom, because lets face it, you will do less impulse buying if you are full.
Work around their schedule - I am the kind of mom whose kids fit into their life, usually. When grocery shopping I make sure she is either totally rested (toddler) or totally tired (infant). Most infants, put in a comfy spot will pass out.
Make sure you are comfortable carrying - I loved to carry my daughter in her Ergo carrier while I shopped. My walking would zone her out. I am also one of those horrible parents who broke the cardinal rule of not putting the car seat in the front of the cart, I did this often! When she became a baby, not an infant, she would be in that car seat loving life. I would sing to her, she loved it! It was at my own risk, I do realize that, but it worked wonderfully for us.
Toys! - Infants do not usually need toys but if we are talking a baby they really come in handy! Especially around teething time, something to bite helps. I would pack a couple she hadn't seen in a while; we also had specially designated "store toys". Heck we still do, now that she's a toddler! It gives her something to look forward too.
Toddlers - When they are older and won't sleep thorough the store. Please know my knowledge is limited (my toddler is only 1 1/2)
Snacks - I have a little backpack that I put a special snack cup and sippy cup with water. Even if she just ate lunch I give her a little less at the meal and she snacks through the majority of the store. My daughter sees it and knows its all hers!
Comfy Spot - A lot of moms told me this was a waste and now every time I use it they comment how great it is. I am talking about one of those cart covers. You can see it in the picture, here is a link to the one we own. This way she is comfy, not sitting on the hard metal and plastic. If the carts wet, she's dry, if its hot, she's not burned. Added bonuses no germs on my hands or her body! AND when she does go in a cart without it she is thrilled! It’s actually funny how excited she gets.
Be funny and have fun - I know that shopping is serious business to those of us with tight bank accounts, so GO PREPARED. I use coupons, savings apps, calculator and list when I go. But one thing I try to remember is she doesn't know any of that. She knows me. So we sing, we dance, we make faces at each other. I don't care if people stare at me. It takes me a little longer but I am spending quality, one on one, time with my girl, its worth it.
There is one thing I never did and I think it has saved me tons of headaches. I never let her out of the cart. EVER. She does not realize that she can walk around stores, it's not an option. She has asked now that she's older and I say, "Sorry baby, we stay in the cart with mommy". I see parents with kids younger or maybe a slight bit older and they ask me how I get her to sit still. I have to be honest and say, "She doesn't know she can get out." It might seem a little confining or controlling or whatever but it has worked for us...so far.
Now I am not saying these tricks work every time, they do not. We all have our bad days. But they do work the majority of the time. It makes me look forward to the days when we get to sneak out and wander the aisles of our favorite retailers!
I am dying to know some other mom tricks for shopping with your little ones!!! Please let us know in the comments!
The Perfectionist Mom
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