Every Parent Will Love These Brilliant Hacks for Shopping at Costco With Kids

Costco doesn’t have to be stressful with kids. | Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The enormous warehouse extravaganza that is Costco is stressful enough to navigate. Add kids to the mix and you have a recipe for disaster while looking for a recipe for dinner.

A family trip to Costco doesn’t have to be a nightmare. These easy-to-follow tricks will help your grocery shopping go smoothly. Perks of buying in bulk? You only need to hit the grocery store with your kids half the amount you would otherwise.

Shop at snack time

The only thing worse than grocery shopping while hungry is grocery shopping with hungry kids. That is, anywhere but Costco, where you can shop while snacking for free.

There is no limit on Costco samples, according to MSN. Another perk of Costco that most other grocery stores don’t have is the food court. If the snacks won’t hold your kids over, start with one of Costco’s super tasty (and cheap) hot dogs or a smoothie.

Cut distractions

costco shopper

Stick to the outer area of the store. | Tim Boyle/Getty Images

A little-known fact about Costco’s set up; the store keeps you shopping (and therefore spending) by spreading out the essentials that you likely came for in the first place. According to Lifehacker, the middle area of the store is called the “action alley” due to its high traffic.

“Makers and distributors often pay for the privilege of being there, and the prices are aggressive,” the site says. Stick to the perimeter of the store to save money and time and avoid the distracting purchases your kids will likely throw in the cart.

Double carts


The extra large carts also fit more more kids. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images News

You may like Costco with one kid, but you’ll fall in love with two. The store’s grocery carts have double seating which allows you to strap both kids in and free up your hands for shopping.

A VeryWell writer called Costco carts the most family friendly she’d ever seen and urged others to follow suit. “It holds more stuff to buy, so you’d think all stores would have them. I just wish other stores would follow this example,” wrote Pamela Prindle Fierro, a mother of twins.

Split the sugar

No more fighting over splitting food. | The Cheat Sheet

Not only is the food court super cheap ($1.50 for a hotdog and large pizza slices for $2), it’s kid friendly. If your kids are begging for sweets that will have them bouncing off the walls and shelves, Costco has the solution.

The food court will sell you a smoothie or cup of ice cream and divide it up into however many kids you have. A family of three kids can each get their own cup of ice cream to eat as they walk around the store for $1.50 total.

Put the kids to work

Woman shopping at Costco

Use shopping as a teaching lesson. | Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Mother of three and blogger Jordan Page let Today in on how she manages big box stores like Costco with her crew. “I let the older kids get items while I wait at the end of the aisle with the younger ones. My 3-year-old can pick up a box of Life cereal while the older ones can carry six cans of corn.”

Page uses shopping as an opportunity to teach her children. “When they help pick out bananas, I show them what to look for and what to avoid,” she said.

Keep the germs away

shopping cart

Cover the handle bar to avoid germs. | andykatz/iStock/Getty Images

Keep the germs away to make sure riding in the shopping cart doesn’t give your kids a cold. Kids are notorious for touching and leaning on the shopping cart handlebars. Some stores offer antibacterial wipes to clean the handle bar down with, but you might not want your child exposed to those chemicals – the odds of them accidentally ingesting it are pretty high.

This life hack will keep your kids healthy and free you up to browse the aisles instead of monitoring their every move. Cut an old pool noodle and cover the handle bar to create a barrier from germs and make a safety bumper.

Use this quick trick instead: cut a pool noodle and cover the handle bar. This creates a barrier from germs and a safety bumper, too!

Avoid the trip and shop online

Costco Wholesale warehouse

These days you can avoid the crowds and shop online. | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Ah, the beauty of the internet. Costco members can now buy the essentials and some of their favorite products from the comfort of their living room. Have everything you need delivered to your door via Costco’s website and Instacart in select states. Your kids may miss out on the samples, but we can guarantee you won’t miss the stress.

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