IKEA Without Tears: 6 Tips for Shopping with Kids

It’s big, blue, and you can’t miss it… IKEA has finally made its way to San Antonio! 

IKEA offers inexpensive, contemporary furniture and housewares, but shopping here is not your average shopping trip. It’s an experience. 

IKEA isn’t a place where you run in to grab one thing and head out. The store is designed to push you through various displays showcasing uniquely decorated, staged rooms featuring furniture, decor, and accessories. With the intense lights, bright colors, and overwhelming amount of stuff everywhere, it can be a bit of a sensory overload if you’re not prepared. 

If you’re gearing up for your first visit and plan to take the kids, I’ve got some tips to make the behemoth store a little less daunting. 

1. Avoid weekends and holidays.  

Weekends at IKEA are basically like visiting Disney World during summer break. It’s shoulder-to-shoulder walking down the aisles, the lines are forever long, and you’ll be sweating by the end of your trip. Your best bet? Go on a weekday when most people are at work. 

2. Visit Småland. 

Småland is a little piece of heaven for moms who want to shop without a million interruptions and cranky attitudes. It’s a supervised play area for kids between 37” and 54” tall. Children must be potty trained. The number of children allowed is limited depending on staff, so there can be a long wait at peak times. 

3. Sign up for the IKEA Family card. 

Join the family! You’ll get exclusive IKEA Family deals on merchandise, specials at the restaurant, and the real reason to join: extra playtime in Småland for little ones. 

Sign up online before you go and pick up your card in store at one of the IKEA Family kiosks. 

4. Stop for a play break. 

The children’s department is conveniently located about halfway through the flow of the store. It’s a perfect place to stop for a bit and let the kids out to play. You’ll find little beds to climb on, toys to play with, chairs to try out, and much more. 

5. Plan around a meal. 

I know it’s a furniture store, but don’t miss stopping for a bite to eat at the IKEA restaurant. The prices can’t be beat, and they have healthy—even some organic—options that are really delicious. The restaurant opens 30 minutes before the store, so you can fuel up with breakfast before shopping. There’s an additional bistro located just after the checkout, but this quick-serve restaurant has a limited menu of hot dogs, cinnamon rolls, and beverages. 

6. Plan ahead.  

Definitely look online before you go. IKEA is known for its self-serve marketplace and furniture floor, which can be a little daunting when you’ve got a cart full of children. Don’t hesitate to search out one of those bright yellow shirts because they are usually willing to lend a cheerful helping hand. You can also plan ahead with the “click and collect” service or picking a delivery time to avoid the heavy lifting.

Happy shopping at IKEA!

Meghann is a mom of three little ones, proud lefty, and unexpected country dweller who lives in the Texas Hill Country on 6.5 acres with too many animals to count. Meghann is the creator of Rooted Childhood, a resource to inspire families with young children to create and connect through meaningful, seasonally inspired activities. She can be found online at www.rootedchildhood.com.