Prepare, prepare, prepare..can't say it enough. Ideally, I would say leave the kids at home! Experts say you will save lots of money (and frustration) by grocery shopping alone. But let's face it, that's not always possible. If you can't leave the kids at home, try these tried and true strategies for success.
1. Use your resources. Some grocery stores offer in store childcare...check into this. If a store has a cool race car attached to the front, let your child "drive the cart".
2. Be prepared. Feed your kids before you go to limit hunger and moodiness. You may want to bring a small snack. Have your kids go to the bathroom before leaving the house. If someone is potty training, know where the bathroom is located in the grocery store and expect that you may have to rush there on a moments notice.
3. Bribery. Well, not really. Everyone responds to earning a reward! It's human nature. Preset your kids with what you expect from them while at the store. If you can, give them a treat like a movie when they get home or take them to the park (if they make good choices). It does not have to be a physical treat! If you make a promise, make sure you can follow through if they are good or the whole plan will fly out the window!
4. Keep them busy. Ask your child to be your "special helper" or keep them entertained with a grocery store game. This can be something like having them look for items, having them add up the prices (bring a calculator) or having them help put things in the cart. Kids love to have a special job and the way you present it can be especially enticing!!
5. Shop quickly. Consider the expectations you are putting on your child. A 2 hour grocery shopping trip is almost impossible for any child!! If at all possible, just get a few things until a time when you can shop alone.