5 Things Smart Moms Never Do When Grocery Shopping with Their Kids

updated May 1, 2019
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When my siblings and I used to act up in the grocery store, my mom had a very unique way of deescalating the situation. She’d force the three of us to hold hands in whatever aisle we were in and sing this, uh, special song and whatever fist fight or hair pulling had broken out would immediately dissolve into an embarrassed fit of giggles. Public humiliation for the win!

No one said bringing your kids to the grocery store was easy. With that in mind, we compiled a list of tips from some of the smartest moms we know to help you get through it. (Singing and dancing in the produce aisle not included.)

(Image credit: Meghan Splawn)

1. NEVER skip the grocery store “incentives.”

“This is somewhat controversial, but I never skip the free cookie or balloon or fruit or whatever the grocery store is shelling out for kids. It isn’t so much a bribe (some people think it is!) as it is a peace offering. Plus, if my kids are satisfied with something in their hands, then they are less likely to ask for junky snacks that I’m just going to deny them anyway,” says Associate Food Editor Meghan Splawn.

2. NEVER leave home without a list.

“If I don’t have a list,” says Christine Gallary, our food-editor-at-large, “I inevitably forget something because I’m so busy keeping an eye on my daughter!”

3. NEVER buy snacks that aren’t on sale.

According to my expert coupon-clipping mom, you should never pay full price for snacks. Those in need of Oreos and Goldfish should check the weekly flyer and consult their coupon inventory before shelling out. Even your kids will notice: Cookies taste better when they are buy-one-get-one-free.

4. NEVER pay with a credit card.

Experts find that people are less likely to overspend if they’re paying with cash compared to a credit card. This is true for Christy, a mom of five in Virginia Beach who says: “Paying with cash forces me to pay attention to what’s adding up in my cart.”

5. NEVER bring your kids!

If only it were that simple. Kitchn contributor Ayn-Monique Klahre says that she shops by herself whenever possible: “Unless your kids are either angels or robots, bringing the whole crew to the store is almost a surefire way to blow your budget.”

Do you have your own tips for shopping with kids? Share them in the comments below!