Quick Guide on Shopping with 2 Small Children

There are phases of your grocery shopping life. When you have one baby, then one toddler, then you add in another baby, then there are three, or you have a newborn vs a toddler. I get that some of these things wont apply to you or that you may want to adjust to how it fits your current needs. That’s great! Be creative and tailor it to you and your family 🙂

[I wrote this post when I had two little ones and lived in Texas. I need to write a post for Shopping with Three now!]

Grocery Shopping with 2 Under 2

Be Prepared!

Take the time to have the meals for the days planned out with exactly what you need for each meal. You will save so much time and $$$!!! One tip- if you aren’t already doing this- mark on your list which store you are getting which things from. This is what works for me. I personally don not like to go to the grocery store every two to three days so I shop for 5-7 days at a time. I may have to run to get milk, eggs, bread, some more grapes (we eat a lot of those), the staples but then I can run real quick with daddy is home or I can send him. I’ve tried lots of different methods and this is what I always come back to. Don’t feel stressed if your list doesn’t look pretty and is only9( written on a piece of scratch paper. Let me tell you a secret, “it doesn’t matter.” OK so now that that is out of the way…

Chose the Store(s) Wisely

When I go shopping there are two critical questions I ask about the store when I’m going with my kids. Does it have a double wide cart? (so amazing!) Do I know where things are? With 2 little ones the “get in, get out, nobody gets hurt” becomes a reality. So I have a little rant here… Moms, don’t take your car seat in the store. There I said it. It looks ridiculous and is totally unpractical. How are you going to put anything in your cart? Put them in a wrap or Ergo or something. They will be happier being close to you anyway.

I live within walking distance to Aldi  (that doesn’t mean I walk there often) and I haven’t been able to beat their prices other places, so I shop there. Also, their stores are small and I can do my shopping FAST! I LOVE Sprouts but they don’t have a double cart so I try to go there with one child or when I can run solo real quick when daddy is home. Costco is also a double cart store! We get a few things there each month and the samples make it quite enjoyable. I will occasionally need to go to Kroger (Smiths) or Walmart but most of their stores only have one seat in the cart (boo). If I do need cleaning supplies or something that I would go to Walmart for I have started just ordering it on Amazon. I have Amazon Prime and it saves me carting everyone into, through, and out of the store so that’s pretty awesome! (Smiths and Walmart now have it set up that you can order your goods online and pick them up curb side!]

Seating Arrangements Matter

How I handle the seating arrangement has evolved as my kids have gotten bigger.

Newborn and Toddler:

WEAR THE NEWBORN! This will SAVE YOU!!! If you don’t have a wrap or baby carrier, seriously just get one. It will be a VERY worth while investment. The little one loves to snuggle and will probably just nuzzle in and sleep the whole time. Your hands will be free and you wont have to worry about propping them up in the cart.

Put the toddler in the seat and strap them in. Tell them it is the rule. (kids are smarter then we give them credit) Don’t let them persuade you to take them out EVER. Just like we have to sit in our car seat and wear our seat belt in the car we have to sit in our seat and wear our seat belt in the store.

I’ll be honest at this stage grocery shopping was exhausting. I felt like I was carrying everyone plus all the groceries into the store, through the store, out of the store, and THEN you get to bring everyone/thing in and try to put the groceries away and at this point your newborn wants to nurse and your toddler is tired of being good so they start doing things (by that I mean making messes) to get a little bit of your attention. SO for the first probably 3 months if it was at all possible I would go grocery shopping on Saturday or a time when my husband was home and I could either just take one child with me or (double bonus) leave them both with daddy for a few minutes.

Baby and Toddler: 

When the baby is big enough to sit up that is when it becomes really important to get the double cart. Just make your trips quick and remember don’t take the toddler out! If double carts are not an option just keep wearing your infant until they get to big to wear. Remember if you ever fudge and take the toddler out you will have a really tough time getting them to go back in their seat.

Toddler and Toddler: 

This is the stage we are at now. My little girl LOVES to help. So it is kind of hit and miss how we end up. My 11 month old is a champ and will just in the cart seat no problem (thank you!) My little girl, 2 1/2, changes positions every time we go. She will occasionally sit in the cart (I give her a Lysol wipe when we are getting out of the car and tell her I need her help to wipe the cart down. That usually gets her there for at least a few minutes. She will sometimes want to ride in the big part of the cart, or walk by me.

OK so those things are all fine BUT you have to set ground rules and stick to them. Remind them of the rules EVERY TIME you go to the store. Ground Rules like: “If you stand up then you will have to come sit in the seat,” “If you don’t stay by me then you have to ride in the cart” Reward it with “If you sit down or stay by me you can chose something special” Stick to your guns!

Two year olds test boundaries to see how far they can push you. If they break the rule give them one more chance with a reminder of the consequence and then the second time all you say is “Oh you broke the rule, that’s too bad, now you need to (fill in consequence)” This can be hard the first few times. There will probably be screaming and gnashing of teeth. That’s OK. They are learning that when you tell them there will be consequences if they break the rules! THIS IS A HUGE LIFE LESSON!!! It may take a few times for them to know that you are dead dog serious and aren’t going to budge. But they will learn- it will get easier, promise. (Maybe when they turn 4..)

Feed the Children

The first thing we do when we go in a store is go and get some crackers, yogurt melts, cookies, a pouch, whatever. As you go through the store just keep giving them little bits. I know this is a “My kids will never” statement that we all made. Well now you have kids and its about survival and the people who judge you will hopefully be blessed with children one day and will do the same thing. So break out the Vanilla Waffers and keep handing them out! Then you just pay for them with your other groceries when you check out, your kids have been good and you will still be sane.

Engage Your Children

Engage your children as you shop. Ask them questions like “What do you think?”, “Which one should we get?”, “Doesn’t that look good?”, “Do you see any _____?”, “We need to find some____”… And then tell them what you are getting and what you are going to make with it something like, “Oh look here are the bananas! Should we get some to put in our delicious smoothies? Would you help me when we make the smoothie? How many do you think we will need?” By asking them questions you are making them think! They still feel like you are giving them attention and wont feel the need to capture it by throwing a fit. Children come with a innate desire to help. Let them know that you value their opinion and appreciate their help.

Leave Them in the Car While You Unload

Let them relax in the car strapped in their seats in the driveway with the car running and windows down while you carry the bags to the front porch. (if you are like me and have a detached garage) They can see you, you can talk to them and just tell them you will be there to help them in just a minute. This way no one gets run over, or feels abandoned sitting in the house alone while you make trips to unload. Put everything on the porch, get the kids in the house and then prop the door open while you carry it in. That is our system…

Wahoo you can do it!!!

What tips do you have? Share your successes and times when things could have gone better


xoxo Graceann

Share This