I want a few super easy snack ideas I can take to the store when I'm shopping with my two kids, ages 4 yrs and 3 yrs so they can eat a bit and keep them happy. Thanks.
Sue from Goshen, IN
I always keep on hand for my now 4 year old, fig newton cookies, raisins, and cheese-it crackers. I used to carry a banana also when he was younger...that was his favorite.
Something dry and not too messy--a baggie with dry cereal like Cheerios, pretzels, goldfish crackers. Also good is string cheese, grapes, baby carrots.
Try to keep things non messy, for your sake and the stores.
I find cheerios to be the universal anywhere snack for my own children as well as the grandchildren now. Church, store, movies, etc.
At the grocery store I shop, a child of any age gets a cookie from a staff member. Half way through the store the cookies are, this policy has gone on for years, so you ask the nearest stockperson, etc and they ask the child which one they want, they get it.
My trick was always to start in the fruit/vegie isle and give the kids a choice to pick out.
Now the deli is there as well, so we stop and get some sliced cheese (farmer or provoline are the favorite) and EAT from the cheese bag as we round it. The price is on the bag to be paid for when done. My children had all grown up going to this store AND also at 16 working there.
Now my youngest is one of the managers so the kids find him, he hands a quarter out and they go to the employee pop machine for a can of pop. The employees make the store a fun trip for all. Many times there are samples of fruits handed out, you can stand and watch the bakery section frosting rolls, taking fresh bread out of ovens, sometimes getting samples there too.
There are times color sheets are handed out, they keep it interesting so that unless you bring crabby kids in (always have naps and food time current) they have a good time.
I use the grocery store as an educational learning tool. The 6 yr old granddaughter helps read labels, prices. The 2 year old tells me what products are and learns the names of things she doesn't.
I find if I am in a hurry, wait till someone can watch the kids at home, or bring them to watch the kids in another cart with you while you get what is on your list.
By teaching good behavior, they will always be welcome in any store and they will reap rewards along the way. Oh, as with my own kids and grandkids, NO junk food, candy, pop is bought when we are shopping together. They sooooo get it and wish for the day they are old enough to buy their own. By that time, they know why they did not get it. You reap what you sow.
What is interesting is not only kids flock to the staff, but adults find a friendly smile and small conversation as well as helpfulness in any isle. They do home deliveries every day and take the time to help put groceries in the fridge/freezer, open containers for those who need help, etc.
It would be more practical to bring a toy for them to play with rather than food to a food store.
Feed them before going in and reward them, with a treat from the deli or something, for the good behavior after shopping is the best behavior to teach.
Besides all of the above, how about a reward for good behavior at the very end-Spell out the behaviors you expect then at the ned let them pick out the designated reward IF they hav earned it. This can be as simple as picking out the cereal or ice cream flavor of the week.
I used to carry little baggies in my purse or tote of cheerios, pretzels or crackers. Several of the stores I shop at will have cookies out at the bakery to sample and if you are buying something at the deli the clerk will gladly cut a piece of cheese for the children, free of charge.
Try putting cheerios the fruit ones on a string of dental floss for bracelets and necklaces that they can wear while shopping they could make them, too.
The store I shop at, always gives kids under 12 years old, a free cookie from the bakery. You might call your store and see if they do. When my kids were young, and I had to take them to the store with me, I'd hit the bakery first, and then the comic book section. They'd pick out their comic book and while I shopped, eat the cookie and read. No problem-o!
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