You know, every once in a while I receive feedback from my readers.
Some of you have been kind to point out grammatical errors or misspelled words, which I appreciate, because I can easily go into 'edit' and make adjustments.
Some of you have been kind to tell me about projects or decorating you have done in your home because of something you've seen on this blog that sparked an idea.
And some of you have been kind to offer suggestions on topics you'd like for me to write about...
That is the reason I have sat down today to compose this post!
A reader (and dear friend) reached out to me and asked, "How do you grocery shop with little kids?! Can you write a blog post about that?"
Well, in thinking about her request, I realized that my season of grocery shopping difficulty is behind me, now that my kids are older and can tag along no problem. But, there was a stretch of time several years ago, when I had babies and toddlers, that grocery shopping was almost impossible!
I would lug in a heavy baby-filled carseat on one hip, and a less than cooperative toddler on the other hip... Plop the carseat in the back of a shopping cart, and buckle the toddler into the front of the cart... Shove my huge mom bag down below and then wonder... "Where am I going to put any groceries?!"
Now, before any of you blast me in the comments about grocery stores having home delivery services, please know that that wasn't a thing six years ago when I was dealing with this. The city we're closest to only just recently built a grocery store with that feature, and besides, we're out of their delivery limits.
SO... What was I to do?
My husband felt sorry for me during those years and would offer to stop by the store on his way home from work. But I didn't prefer that because as any exhausted young mother knows, we want dad home as soon as possible!!! Him stopping for groceries after work meant prolonging the reinforcements! Haha...
My solution during those years was this:
One night a week I would leave for the store, alone, after the kids had been tucked into bed.
It was perfect!
Dinner was done, the kitchen was clean, Micah was home, and the kids were none the wiser... I could zip over to the store and be back home in half the time as it would have taken had I gone during the day with them.
Plus! It gave me a much needed break!
Other than maybe lucking out with a magical nap hour where everyone was asleep at once, there was no other time during the week that I could be alone.
It was a peaceful thing for me to shop in the evening, by myself, and while the store was quieting down for the night.
I grocery shopped this way for several years.
I would go every Monday night, and get a weeks' worth of food and supplies.
(The photos in this post are of my home, and really have nothing to do with grocery shopping, but just meant to break things up and add interest. :)
I saw some sad scenes during those years that validated my decision to leave my babies home...
I remember one very cold, winter night, walking into the store behind a young mother who had a baby in her arms, and the baby was barefoot!!! Completely barefoot! How sad it was for me to see those little baby toes dangling in the frigid air! I thought about my babies and how blessed they were to be home in their warm beds.
On another occasion I witnessed a very young toddler having a meltdown in the checkout lane behind me. I could tell by the tone of the cry that the child was overly tired. The child's parents had lost their patience, and were screaming at her to stop. I wanted to say, "She's not being sassy, she is exhausted! She should've been tucked into bed hours ago!" But of course, because of social etiquette, I said no such thing, only looked over at the angry father and smiled sympathetically. Because it had appeared that both parents were with the child, I couldn't help but think, "Why didn't one of them stay home with the baby, and the other run to the store? It's 9:30 at night!!!" But I'm sure they had their reasons. (And who am I and what do I know?! *eyeroll)
A year or so ago I realized that I no longer had babies in car seats, and wondered if grocery shopping with the kids again should be something to consider.
There are many life skills that can be learned at the grocery store! And homeschool mama's are able to look at all areas of life and find teaching opportunities! Haha...
So, my current system is to shop every Monday afternoon with all the kids.
Recently, one of my children learned how to round up to the nearest dollar, so an afternoon grocery shopping is a good time to review that skill. I will point out an item labeled $1.98, for example, and ask, "So, what is $1.98 rounded up?" and do that with several grocery items, letting them answer.
It's also a good opportunity to teach things like, checking bread and produce for the latest date, because that will be the freshest option, and, "What's the better value? Just because this can of beans is 20 cents cheaper than this one, doesn't mean it's a better deal." And I would point to oz. per can to show them why.
There was one shopping trip where we spent the whole time looking for compound words on labels and signs...
Yes, a lot can be learned at the grocery store!
Granted, it takes us a couple of hours to get through the store, haha... but it has provided real-life experience for my kids!
I don't really deal with too many behavioral issues from them anymore, but a couple of years ago I began laying out expectations in the car before entering the store with them.
This was very helpful and I would recommend it!
I would simply let everyone know what I expected of them while shopping.
It would sound something like this... "There is to be no running off. I need everyone to stay close to the cart! You may make suggestions on what (chips, cereal, gum) you like, but I reserve all rights to making the final purchasing decision! No one is to pull anything off of any shelves, only touch the items I ask you to help with! I expect full obedience and cooperation with happy hearts!!!"
I have given them my pre-shopping speech so many times now, that at this point when we're unloading the car to go into a store, I just have to say, "OK, everyone! You know the drill!" And the children know what I mean! Haha...
I know I have taught this on my blog before, but I think it's worth repeating, and that is that children will rise to whatever standard is set for them. If you give them a high standard, they will meet that. However, if you give them a low standard, that is likely all they'll do.
I have tried to remember this while shopping with my kids.
There's no reason why they can't cooperate and keep up without causing any problems if that's what they're expected to do.
Well, friends, what about you?!
What would you add to all this?
I'd love to hear your thoughts and tips!
Thanks for reading today!
Until next time...
~ Courtney ~