How To Stay Sane While Grocery Shopping With Three Kids

Family / Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

While some may love grocery shopping with a pack of squirming, squealing and wandering children, I prefer to go alone. Since we can’t always grocery shop alone, I’m sharing tips for staying sane on a group outing. 

How To Stay Sane While Grocery Shopping With Three Kids |

I love going to the store with all three children.

Wait. No.



I love going to the store with all three children. Wait. No. Just. NO. #thisgratefulmama #groceryshopping #parenting #momlife #parentingstrategy Click To Tweet
How To Stay Sane While Grocery Shopping With Three Kids |

As a stay-at-home mom of three, the likelihood of solo-shopping glory is slim. Especially in the summer when school is out.

While my husband is happy to stay home while I go alone in the evening or on the weekend, I’d rather shop during the week so we can spend those precious hours together.

We do our best to make shopping with three kids as painless as possible for them, and for me.

How to stay sane while grocery shopping with three kids

Plan Ahead

Gone are the days of wandering aisles waiting to be inspired for this week’s meals. Shopping with children requires planning and a detailed list. If possible, rearrange the list in the order each item is found in store aisles – dairy and meat, pantry staples, paper goods and produce.

Limit Stores

List in hand, you should have a pretty good idea which stores you need to visit. When possible, choose the store that carries MOST of your items. For me, it may mean shopping where I’d rather not in order to get home faster with my sanity in tact.

Timing is Everything

Kids who are tired, hungry, or missing out on playtime may be in the mood for an unpleasant trip.  I like to run errands just after breakfast. Morning is when our kids and I are most likely to be at our best. Kids aren’t outside playing yet, and everyone is fed and well rested.

Bathroom First

Never, ever leave home without making ALL children, even the oldest, use the bathroom. Emergencies aside, on most tripsthis will save you from the mad dash across the store hoping no one pees before you find the bathroom.

Enlist Help

Who in your life is easy-going and genuinely wants to spend time with you and be helpful? Have someone in mind? Good. Ask them to shop with you. My mom has accompanied us on many shopping trips. She pushes an extra cart and keeps the troops in line. Have an older child? They are your built-in help. Assure them that their help will make the trip quicker so they can get on to whatever they would rather be doing.

How To Stay Sane While Grocery Shopping With Three Kids |


This is your backup plan. Some may call it bribery, I like to call it incentives. What motivates your kids? A fun activity? A shorter rest? Including them in meal planning and preparation? Snacks? Whatever helps them make it through the trip – DO IT – for all of you. Watch out so the habit of snacks doesn’t turn you into a human vending machine, but do not leave home without a backup plan.

Not On The List, Not In the Cart

This takes discipline. Resist the urge to grab that item not on the list. It will save you money and keep the trip short. Plus, if you follow the list, you can use this rule to ward off all purchase requests from the kids. Sorry, not on the list.

Use the Big Cart

Those giant carts with two seats in front are actually easier to push than you think, even when loaded with three kids. When we need to be quick, I still make our almost 7-year-old ride in the big cart. If the kids CAN fit, make them ride. Now you are free to walk as quickly as you can without running some poor soul over. Get IN and get OUT.

How To Stay Sane While Grocery Shopping With Three Kids |

Cut Your Losses

When everything that could go wrong does go wrong, be willing to leave the store and full cart behind. Promise your kids they will have to come back to do the entire shopping trip again and follow through. If you do, hopefully you won’t ever have to do that again.

Take Care of YOU

Start the day right. A few moments alone with your God, Bible, and coffee will help you be your best all day long. Oh mama, I know how difficult it can be to fit this time in during a kid-busy morning. Have you considered waking up before your kids? Even 15 minutes can be a game changer. Trust me, you will not regret it or miss the sleep.

How To Stay Sane While Grocery Shopping With Three Kids |

When the trip is done, and you’ve all survived, find a coffee-drive thru and treat yourself for a job well done.

Happy shopping friends!


14 Replies to “How To Stay Sane While Grocery Shopping With Three Kids”

  1. Waking up before kids is a life changer! I’m actually awake when they’re clamoring for my attention, so their neediness doesn’t push me into a bad mood before breakfast. I’m happier; they’re happier; and we all get a long a little better when I’m not acting like one of their peers. I’m (finally!) learning that if I give myself a little attention first, I have more to offer them later. Good advice!

  2. Weekly I take 4 or 5 to the store with me… On the way I make them recite the rules for behavior outside the home. Don’t touch anything you didn’t bring, use your super quiet inside voice, walk or you have to sit in the cart. Don’t talk to anyone without your last name… Then follow through on the discipline for anyone breaking said rules. a 5 minute time out in the ail the problem happened – repeating the rules out loud. And I am all about incentive. If they are obedient they get to pick a bag of nuts or a protein bar from the check out lane. I don’t apologize for it either… this mom needs to stay sane!

    1. Such a good idea to remind them of the expectations-I find myself in a rush and forget to do so. Reminding them is sure to help them and me! And…you’re amazing taking 4-5 kids when I’m struggling with 3! 😍

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