TALK BACK: errands with kids

Trying to complete errands with kids in tow is one of the most stressful situations a mommy can face. I am often so tired after trying to grocery shop with my kids that I end up crashing on the sofa as soon as the perishables are in the fridge.
I have no idea how moms of multiples kids get anything done. As I get closer to have four, I often wonder about how I will strategize my shopping. Will I get those harnesses and strap two of them to the side of the cart? And get dirty looks and nasty comments for leashing my kids? Then again, you get dirty looks and nasty comments if the kids are running around, too. It seems like a lose-lose situation.
And I refuse to get a sitter or wait until Mark is home and suck up my downtime to do something like GROCERY SHOPPING. No, I must figure this out.
Two carts?
Human chain?
Daycare rope?
What are your tricks for running errands with your kids?


  1. Maybe some moms with many kids will have some good advice. But I wonder if this isn't one of those things that will have to get done during what would be down time (when there are four). Or maybe with only two kids while Daddy is at home on a Saturday working in the yard with the other two? Maybe for a season it will just have to stink. Or if you do have to bring all four, you might really have to lay out a plan with the older kiddos. Like at Trader Joe's, they can push their own carts behind you and help, but if they start taking off or not listening, you just have to go. ACK! I don't know. Very tricky. Um...good luck? :)

  2. P.S. I realize you said you didn't want to do it during down time and then I said "hey, how about during down time!" What I meant was maybe it's just inevitable, even though it stinks. Just for a season, just for a season...

  3. I do it during "down time" or when my older ones are at school and I only have one with me. Shopping with four is hard. When I have to take them all, I keep the list short and try to enlist their help. Someone holds the list, someone "helps" find the right aisle, someone entertains the baby, etc. I also frequently do it during "down time" and take just one, that provides alone time and an opportunity to connect with mom.

  4. I love shopping alone during down time, but...

    My SIL has 4 (ages 5,4,4,2) the middle two are from Ethiopia. Anyway, she does run all her errands with her kids. If you go to a store with one of those car carts you can have two in the car and two up front. At the zoo (or Disneyland for you SoCal moms) you can have the two youngest in a double stroller and the two oldest walking or harnessed, or rent a second stroller and Mark gets one too. I have no idea really. Good luck!

  5. I have three kids, and I do all my errands with at them in tow. Here's what works for me:

    I only attempt one big errand a day. Any more is pushing them and me.

    As much as possible, I try to be Super Organized Mom. I have a list, I have snacks, I have a project for the older ones.

    I pray like crazy for a good attitude.

    It does get a little easier as they get older, but until then, you need Jedi-like skills.

    (By the way, I grew up in a family of four siblings, and my Mom would take us all grocery shopping in the summer when we were home from school, and at that point, we NEEDED two carts just to buy all the food. But it kept us busy too.)

  6. Hopefully when the time comes you need to shop with all four, Jafta will be mature enough to walk alongside the cart, the middle two can ride in the cart, and the baby can be attached to you somehow. I promise you'll figure it out!

  7. My girls love to push their own little carts at our local grocery store!
    -sandy toe

  8. I read your post this morning and then this afternoon at the grocery store (while my kids were in school, you'll get there too someday) I saw a woman who had the solutuion. Baby in the backpack, oldest child walking beside and the middle two strapped in the racecar like buggy. She still seemed frazzled , but she was getting it done. Although I do think that by the time the baby is 1 you will rethink your definition of alone time, and take Saturday mornings to get a mani/pedi and then stop by the grocery store on the way home. Thanks for posting this I was wondering how the pregnancy and adoption was progressing. . Any ideas how to avoid that minivan now??? :)

  9. Lollipops are my friend. As are chicken mcnuggets. I am not afraid to bribe for good behavior! Today, I promised on our way in to the store, that I would let them splash in the puddles on our way back to the car if they were good listeners inside.

    But...I only have two, soon to be three. Jenna Hiller (braun) pointed me to your blog, she's an old friend.

  10. Star charts are a wonderful thing, and I always remind them before we get out of the Suburban as to what I am doing, and what I am expecting of them. (My children are 4, 6 and 8 years of age.) If we have grocery shopping to do, they each have a list and when we go to the aisle with their item on it they grab it and check it off the list. It helps to keep them involved. And when that doesn't work (believe me, it happens a lot) I pray that I won't run into anyone I know. Bribes like Nerds and cookies are great too!!!

  11. I frequently go with my 3 (6,4,3) and have since they were very young. My sis-in-law goes with her 4 (6,5,3,1) too. We both use "incentives" AKA bribery. BUT, there are a couple of important rules here.
    1. Carefully and specifically define what you mean by "good." Simply saying, "if you're good you'll get a treat" doesn't cut it. Before we get out of the van we talk about, "What does mommy mean by 'being good'?"
    2. Don't give the treat if they haven't held up their end of the bargain. It will be massive drama that one time, but they'll remember later.
    3. I keep a box of raisins for each kid for the checkout line. It's the hardest part- soooo many buttons to press- and the raisins work like a charm. Everyone eats their raisins while I pay etc. Then they get their treats in the van if they've listened well, held onto the cart through the parking lot, stayed within my sight at ALL times, etc.


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