Just when I felt I could survive a trip to the store with my daughter, sure enough, we had another kid.
I remember the first time I braved a trip to the grocery store with both kiddos like it was yesterday. It was only a few months ago, but a few months can feel like a few hours when you’re a parent.
Like many good Ohioans, we are loyal to Cincinnati-based Kroger. We weren’t intentional about the day of the week, but our first trip as a family of four to Kroger was on a Friday afternoon. If you shop at Kroger, you may know that they do happy hour on Fridays. It may sound lame, but they offer full glasses of wine for a quarter. That’s right, 25 cents. Goes without saying, but I highly recommend you do your Kroger shopping during happy hour. It makes the whining and mischief much easier to tolerate.
The happy hour is strategically located as you enter the store. I could sense that the next hour of my life could be better served with a little booze, so I quickly scooped up a glass for me and my wife, and we proceeded in.
Kroger does a great job catering to kids. Starting in the produce section, they offer free bananas for children. We always make this our first stop, because a banana will keep a two-year-old busy and peaceful for about seven minutes.
Kroger also offers free cookies from the bakery. When we first started taking kids grocery shopping, the first order of business was to get that free cookie. As our daughter has grown, we dangle the cookie as the carrot for good behavior. She is well aware that a trip to the store equals a cookie for her, so she is more apt to behave and listen knowing a cookie is the reward.
My toddler is going through a phase where she loves to “help Daddy” (let’s hope this continues for the next 30 years). Giving her assignments like pulling items from our list off shelves and putting them in the cart, keep her happy and agreeable most of the time.
None of the above even accounts for our infant. Hopefully you catch yours right when they’re ready for a nap, but anyone who’s had a newborn baby knows there’s no planning when they’ll want to cozy up for a snooze.
Children, of all ages, will always be a challenge in stores, and no amount of cheap wine will change that. When it’s just me and the kids doing the grocery shopping, my wife likes to add to the challenge by sending me on an endless quest for three different kinds of nutrition bars that are all conveniently scattered in different aisles of the store.
In my short time as a dad, I’ve learned getting through any errand requires a savvy combination of distraction, motivation, inclusion, and shameless bribery. This saga will never end, so if you have any tips for how you get through your shopping adventures with kids in toe, please share them here.
Side note: the following picture was posted exactly two years ago today. A day after I turned 30. One of the early trips to Kroger with children.
By Steven Michalovich, Contributor