Taking two kids to the store is a challenge.

How to Go Grocery Shopping With Two Small Children

by Maggie McCormick

Taking two young children to the grocery store is no easy task. You face the possibility of temper tantrums, children running away from you (in two different directions) and a constant chorus of "I want!" Sometimes, though, there's just no getting around it. Make the best of a challenging situation with careful planning.

Make a plan and write it down. Wandering around the store when you're not sure what your family needs can make your shopping trip longer. If you go in with a grocery list, you'll get in and get out more quickly -- maybe even before your little ones lose it.

Choose the right time. Stores are at their busiest in the evening hours and weekend mornings. Avoid these times like the plague. At the same time, you want to make sure that you're not interfering with your children's nap times or going when they'll be hungry -- a sure recipe for an Aisle 5 meltdown.

Look for the "big cart." Many stores have bigger carts that can more safely accommodate children. Some even have a play car attached to the front that the children can ride in. These may be harder to push, but can more easily keep your children contained.

Position the children carefully. It is not safe to attach a car seat onto the top of a grocery cart. If you're going to keep your little one in his car seat, place it in the bigger area of the cart. Consider wearing him in a baby carrier or sling if you have to buy a lot of groceries. Wherever your children sit, make sure you buckle them in safely.

Offer some choices. You're bound to hear your child shouting out, "But Mom, I want..." any number of times. Often, the things your child wants most are the things you want him to have the least. Help this situation by giving him some control over what you buy. For example, ask whether he wants apples or bananas.

Hit up the Kids Club. Many grocery stores offer a free snack -- usually a cookie or an apple -- for the children while their parents are shopping. This can keep your two occupied for at least a few minutes, and give you a chance to shop in peace.

About the Author

Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.

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