How To Make Food Shopping With Kids A Calm Success

Food shopping tends to be one of the least enjoyed adult “chores”.

Food shopping tends to be one of the least enjoyed adult “chores”. For a lot of people, it is the combination of going in blind, winging a weekly meal plan and then dealing with the stressful parking, trolley and queueing situation. It just has to be done though because let’s face it a family has got to eat.
If you have the luxury of doing the food shop without your children accompanying you then I would hazard a guess that you do just that, but food shopping with kids can be extremely stressful. If you’re not strategically avoiding the chocolate aisle you’re running into unexpected special buy toys and dealing with a million snack requests.
I also don’t know about you but my child will always request to go to the toilet in the middle of the shopping experience even if I have insisted that he goes before we leave the house. He knows that the supermarket we shop in has a public toilet and it’s a total novelty factor but you can’t take a chance with a toilet request from a four-year-old.
The fact that food shopping has to stick around (unless you commit to a lifetime of online shopping, which I would actually totally understand) it really is in everyone’s best interest to find a way to make it work for you. The sooner you find ways to make it a calmer experience the better.
As a mum myself, these are the things that make all the difference.

1. Timing is everything. If you can avoid going just before or just after nap time it really helps. The kids will either be over-tired or raring to run around if they’ve been lying down for a period of time before. Both of these are not trolley-friendly.

2. Make sure tummies are full and that includes your own. It will prevent any hangry tantrums and unnecessary purchases because they are a guarantee when you shop feeling very hungry.
3. Bring emergency supplies. Raisins, brioche or some kind of fruit are a great way to pacify a bored child. Something that they can hold themselves and spend a bit of time getting through. Even if they’re not hungry it will provide a bit of a distraction while you get your game face on.
4. Always write a list. Even if you have to do it the night before. Walking around a supermarket blind usually leads to buying too much and ending up without the essentials you actually needed. A meal plan will use up what you have, save you money and reduce the amount of bags you have to pack and transfer to the car and into the house.
5. Be very careful when you run into someone you know. An innocent five-minute natter can be enough to send the kids over the edge. You’re a human on a mission so keep the focus.

6. Do what you have to do to keep them happy during this time. For a lot of people, this will involve giving the kids a phone or an I pad. Nobody is judging you and if they are Karma is an awful thing.

7. If all else fails bribery is your best friend. A post food shopping park date or ice-cream could be just the ticket! Better yet – pick up the ice-creams during the shop and give them in the car on the way home. The visual reminder in the trolley is a powerful source of negotiation.

Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at


Tracey Quinn

Proud mum of two who got married on Don't Tell The Bride and had an accidental home-birth (loves a good story). She's passionate about breastfeeding, positive thinking & all things cosy.

Read more by Tracey
{{ post.excerpt }}
{{ post.content.formatted }}

What is Family Friendly HQ?

Family Friendly HQ is Ireland’s trusted parenting community, dedicated to mums and dads, and families of all shapes and sizes.

Read more about us