I am not sure if anyone’s favorite chore is grocery shopping. It has not been mine. I have tried to make it a game, a contest, a scavenger hunt, a team event, and even my ‘me’ time. “Wait, most of those are the same!”, I already hear you say. Some overlap, I admit. But I promise, they were each intentional and or the situation required separate categories.
I would like to say the most successful game was “Let me know when you see something ____?” Before I had kids, I envisioned grocery shopping would work this way. Ha! No, that never lasted beyond one aisle.
The most frequent game was “Can I Get All My Items Before My Infant/Toddler Melts Down?” I am betting this is a popular game with many other parents also. It helps if they nap through the store or are easily entertained by looking at everything. 1 of my 3 was usually entertained this way. Let me repeat that. 1 of my 3. A snack or favorite lovey item works as long as they last and/or are not dropped along the way. I have ignored my share of dropped snack cracker trails. You know, the trail you discover when you step on one and then see it has been happening for at least 25 feet? I have hunted down lovies that were suddenly missing when half of the groceries were on the checkout conveyor belt too. One time I had 3 store workers helping with the hunt. I even kept spare pacifiers in pockets in case one twin threw the sibling’s pacifier out of the cart/stroller. This was learned after a loud and seemingly long drive home.
With twins I had to up the ante before they turned on each other, or me. “OK, we need ‘x’ and it looks like “y”” could be a good contest a few times in a visit. They automatically kept track of who found the most. Bragging rights lasted about 2 aisles. Checkout lane candy worked as a reward for good behavior contests sometimes.
I could give each kid with me a few key items to find along the way. The trick was picking items they cared about: favorite snack, breakfast, lunch, dinner, or desert item. Depending on the moods, the scavenger hunt would work.
When my three were old enough and the list short enough we could split the list into two and go off in teams for ultimate speed shopping. This worked best either after eating a meal at the grocery cafe or with the promise of a drive thru meal afterward.
That just leaves the ‘me’ time. This was out of complete desperation for a little break or in celebration of the start of a new school year. I think many parents have been at the ‘kids are asleep, tag team parenting, what can I do now so I don’t take kids with me tomorrow” errands at night, in the middle of winter stage. I would try to add a little “what new foods have I missed racing through with kids” time.
My grocery shopping trips went like one or a combination of these ways until grocery order pick up became an option. I bounced between two stores that kept the pick up order item prices the same as the shop in store option for about 3 years. This past year I have tried most of my area’s grocery delivery options including a weekly subscription service. Next up I will describe my grocery ordering experiences with the pros, cons, and tips.