When your children are very little (mine are 3 and 1), I think that the best and most educational activities can be including them in your every day chores. Our tendencies as busy parents oftentimes lead us to distract the kids while we get things done because it allows us to do things more quickly and efficiently, but there are a few times when I let the kids jump in and be little helpers. One of these instances happens to be grocery day, which also usually ends up being on Fridays.
Okay, let me digress here for a minute. I like to save money as much as the next person, and my hubs likes to save money much more than most people, but there are a few times where I weigh convenience over thriftiness. Grocery shopping happens to fall in this category more times than not. I actually love going to the grocery store. The bigger and fancier the better. I like to wander the organized aisles and see what new and interesting ingredient may jump out at me. It’s torture for a lot of people, but for me it’s a way to imagine future meals and combinations of foods that I haven’t tried yet. Weird, right? Well, something that I love more than all of that is being able to rest when my kids nap on the weekends, or maybe get in a little exercise….maybe. Anyway, I have learned to sacrifice my infatuation with grocery stores in favor of time, so now I usually have my groceries delivered. The nominal fee for this service is usually made up by the absence of the impulse buy that you will certainly make in the cheese or condiment aisle when a certain chutney starts calling your name. And, it also leads to the aforementioned, child-friendly activity – grocery day.
Here’s how it goes: Thursday night, after dinner, I round up Sunday’s coupons and hunker down in front of my computer to do my shopping. The online grocery service in our area is Peapod, but most cities have something similar these days. It takes me no more than 10 minutes to load my “cart” with all of the goodies I’ll need for the week and choose a delivery time. Then, Friday morning when the delivery person shows up it’s a big party! That may be an overstatement, but the kids get irrationally excited about it, and my 3 year-old peppers the driver with all sorts of questions regarding the state of his favorite baseball team, where he lives, if he too has a new house, etc. Finally we start unloading all of our treasures. As a parent, I love this part because as each item is pulled from the bag we all exclaim what it is. Apples! Soup! Garbage bags! It’s become a lesson in types of food, colors, numbers and, as the kids are getting older, it’s initiating conversations about healthy eating and where food comes from. Hooray for grocery day!