Supermarket shopping with kids

Supermarket shopping before kids was so easy.

Supermarket shopping with a three year old and a one year old is quite a challenge.

For a while we got our food delivered, but Countdown is so much more expensive than Pak n Save, and it doesn’t sell my favourite kind of hummus.

I’m pretty good at supermarket shopping with the kids now. I have two major hacks, and several minor hacks:

Major hacks

  • Go weekly or fortnightly – they must be accustomed to it. If it is a rare event, they will surely misbehave. Knowing you’ll usually go weekly takes the pressure off trying to buy everything you might need.
  • Buy a small number of things in large quantities. Flying round trying to get a long list takes time. A few foods need to be bought weekly, but most things keep for ages. Once you get into a pattern, you can go shopping weekly and buy a list of maybe 10 things in bulk plus 5 things that go off, and you’re only buying 15 things at a time, and that’s manageable. You’re not trying to do the super intense bulk buying thing where you get a month’s supply of everything in one go, which sounds hellish. You’re just buying three kilos of rolled oats whenever you get low of rolled oats, easy! It means that once you’ve bought a thing, you don’t have to worry about running out of that thing for ages. And when you do run out you’re more likely to remember, because it’s a deviation from the norm. So, never buy just one bottle of dishwashing liquid – always buy two or even three.

Minor hacks

  • Buy online sometimes when you get an email with a good discount voucher and use it as a chance to stock up on stuff you usually get that is currently on special at Countdown.
  • Give the kids a bread roll or a baby food pouch to munch in the trolley.
  • Buy a treat to eat in the car once the shopping is all done. We decide what treat together, which gives us the opportunity to practice compromising and fantasising about all the different potential treats.
  • Park undercover by the entrance to the ramp. Zoom up and down the ramp so the older one has a reason to accept being put in the trolley.
  • Leave some boxes in the boot and pack directly into the boxes from the trolley.
  • Enlist the big one to help – his job to remember one of the items off the list, etc.
  • Go when you’re feeling a bit meh. Don’t waste a good mood on the supermarket! First thing in the morning is quite good – supermarkets open early and kids wake early and parents are in meh moods early. Also it’s quiet in the morning.
  • Do a pep talk in the car reminding them of the supermarket rules (“don’t take things off the shelves”, “gentle hands with each other in the trolley”, “sitting still in the trolley”, “don’t yell at people”).
  • Never ever ever ever buy check-out confectionery, are you completely off your rocker?! Tell the children the chocolate is put there just to tempt us and we have to resist the temptation and it’s a challenge but together we shall overcome!
  • When you get to the check-out, that is when kids are most likely to start playing up. Thank them for being so co-operative and helpful so far. Give the older one the make-work job of carrying the receipt to the car (he thinks this is important, I’m not sure why he thinks it’s important, he knows that it just ends up in the graveyard of car rubbish). Remind them of the approaching treat we’re all going to have in the car once we have the shopping packed into the boot.
  • Once you’re in the car having the treat, text your beloved life partner and co-parent with a triumphant report of your recent successes, specifically eliciting praise and appreciation for your efforts in managing the household.

(File under “posts you can point people to when trying to explain unequal chores burdens and the unseen organisational component of chores done predominantly by women”)


One thought on “Supermarket shopping with kids

  1. For Minor hack number 9 (don’t buy checkout confectionery) there’s an additional hack – many supermarkets have a “confectionery free” checkout. Sometimes it might be worthwhile looking for and using that one, if the kids are in a particularly temptable mood.

    Liked by 1 person

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