Free Grocery Store Childcare? Sold!

One of my favorite days as a parent so far was July 17, 2012–the day my oldest son turned 3 and, thus, eligible for the free childcare at our grocery store. This happened about a week before my laptop on a deskneighbor’s youngest child turned 3. She painted a picture of grocery shopping I still fantasize about: I ran through the aisles, totally alone, buying only things I wanted and taking time to read the labels.

Today, our local schools are closed due to extreme low temperatures. My younger children go to daycare while I work, but my oldest doesn’t have a spot. So what did we do? Bundled up and headed to the grocery store, of course! He’s settled in their playroom and I’m camped out in the cafe using their wifi to get some work done. Drop-off, free childcare spots like this are an amazing resource for young families.

We also have one at nearby Ikea, but they only give you an hour and they don’t have wifi in the store. Still, though. An hour to myself sounds pretty nice on a day I’m home alone with my small people for many hours!

Apart from the intended purpose of peaceful grocery shopping, I’ve used (or plan to use when my youngest turns 3) grocery store childcare in the following ways:

  • Backup childcare for work. I’ve even met a client here in the past!
  • Meet up with other moms. It’s still nice to chat even if we have our babies with us. The big kids are entertained, and my friends and I can drink coffee or even shop together.
  • Date night! This is my grand fantasy. With 3 kids, date night childcare usually ends up costing more than my dinner. As soon as our youngest turns 3, my husband and I plan to drop all of them off and just sit and stare at each other in the grocery store cafe. Maybe we’ll order a deli sandwich, but mostly we’ll just sit and breathe and hold hands.

Do you have any drop-off childcare options near you? Leave us a comment to share your ideas for making the most of it!

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