Food shopping. My least favourite chore of the week, especially with a toddler in tow. In 2013, for shits and giggles, I added a newborn into the mix as well. My eldest was two when Jess came along. I won’t lie. That first attempt with both was a ghastly car-crash of a thing. I vowed never to return without breadsticks (and chocolate coins) again.
I’ve picked up a few tricks since then. Here are my Top Six Tips for making it back to the car park with your kids AND your shit intact.
- DON’T RELY ON THE INTERNET. At some point I guarantee you’ll run out of something. And it just so happens that this something will be the only something that your kids will eat that week. Best to be prepared.
- FRENCH STICKS. Food keeps kids from shouting out random, embarrassing things at strangers. If you’ve forgotten the breadsticks again, head straight for the bread aisle. Kids are like termites. They chow through snacks at a punishing rate, but even the most dedicated snackette won’t be able to scoff an entire French stick by the time you reach the finish line.
- CONTRABANDS. If snacks don’t do it then the magazine aisle usually will. Sometimes forking out £4.99 for annoying plastic crap is the only price to pay for making it through a shopping trip unscathed.
- MUSLINS. If, like me, you’ve become a tad OCD since your kids came along then you’ll view those plastic seat things in trolleys with horror and despair. For years I carried a spare muslin in my bag to lay on top of the seat first. Just try not to flip out when your baby starts gnawing on the filthy plastic seatbelt strap instead.
- VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE. At some point your kids will totally lose it in the middle of a supermarket. We’ve all been there. It’s a painful inevitability. When Jess was two she had an absolute howler of a tantrum because I refused to buy her a Disney-themed bubble bath that was £18 more expensive that the own-brand one. After five minutes of her rolling around on the floor and screaming I abandoned all hope (and the trolley). I simply picked her up and walked out. Naturally, she calmed down as soon as got home but I was MORTIFIED. It took me three weeks before I could return to that Tesco again. Fortunately there’s a Sainsbury’s and Asda around the corner… if anyone asks just say your ‘price-matching’.
- GET INVENTIVE. If your child refuses to be mobbed off with magazines, bread, chocolate etc then it’s time to roll up your sleeves. Point out all the colourful fruit and veg and make up silly rhymes. You’ll be amazed by how much attention you receive when you skip down the aisle with a carrot on your head…