Grocery Shopping with Kids During a Pandemic: Safety Tips
Shopping with kids is never easy, but with a pandemic going on the difficulty levels have skyrocketed. Ideally, we’d avoid going at all until this was all over, but even if you’re doing curbside service, getting your groceries delivered, or ordering online you’ll find there are still times when you have to make a run for supplies.
This is what you can do to help keep you and your family safe.
Keep to a List
First of all, try going when there is someone at home to stay with the children. If this isn’t an option, sit down before you go and write down a list. List groups of food together by category so you don’t have to backtrack to grab an item and can get in and out of the store as quickly as possible.
Then, and this is the most difficult part, don’t forget to take the list with you. I know, lists usually get accidentally left behind on the kitchen counter at home and you get to play the memory game at the supermarket, but during a pandemic you’ll want to avoid this shopping ritual, double check and use other methods to keep your brain nimble.
Avoid lingering in the market. Keep to your list and try to only touch what you’re buying.
Get the Children Involved
If you have older children that can wear masks, let them pick out special ones just for them. Find ones with their favorite superhero or Disney characters and don’t let them play with them between trips. Make sure they know they are only for outings and for big kids who will wear them the safest way.
Go over the list with them and ask them to help you get what you need quickly and safely by not getting distracted and grabbing non-list items. You might need to have a reward planned they can work for with good behavior. Don’t stress fear, but rather working together. If the kids feel like a part of the family team, they may cooperate—at least for a while.
Choose the Right Market
If you have a few choices, go for the market that requires staff and shoppers to wear masks. Make sure they’re sterilizing carts and have a plexiglass shield between the shoppers and the checkout clerk. If the baggers have the masks pulled down so they’re noses are sticking out and management doesn’t seem to care, try to find another market that’s more strict. This may seem nit-picky, but with small children, you have to be careful.
Keep Germs at Bay
Bring hand sanitizer and wipes. Wipe down the parts of the cart you’ll be touching and use a shopping cart cover to keep your child safe with a germ barrier between them and the dirty surface. They’ll be swaddled in soft comfort and more protected, too.
I don’t know what it is about shopping cart handles that seem to compel small children to put their mouths on them, but they do. A cover will keep your child protected from some of those germs. Just toss the cover in the wash when you get home and it will be ready for the next time you go out.
If you’re using self-checkout, wipe down the area with a sanitizing wipe before going through the process.
As soon as you’ve loaded up your car, use a safe hand sanitizer on you and your children, and then all wash your hands when you get home.
Even though it seems like this is going to last forever, it won’t. In the meantime, do your best for you and your family and try to enjoy the little things together. Be courteous to those around you and try to keep your sense of humor. We will get through this, together.