A trip to the grocery store with the kids can be a parent’s worst nightmare.
The constant requests for cookies, candy and other snacks can distract you from the focus of getting what you need. Then there is the worry of your kid turning into a monkey and hanging from the shopping cart. Perhaps worse than that, is when your little darling critiques other shoppers out loud. When a kid blurts out “Boy that blouse she’s wearing is ugly” or “I don’t think that man needs more food” you want to hide behind the deli counter. Often it is easier and more efficient to leave your junior shopper at home but we don’t always have the simple choice of leaving our child behind.
The main reason that kids behave badly in the grocery store is because they are bored!
The best way to change this is to make shopping into an event where your child becomes your assistant. Turn a trip to the store into something they look forward to because they can learn and accomplish an important task for the family. Kids want to be involved so when you let them be your grocery store helper it turns into a win-win!
Have your junior shopper assist you with the grocery list. If you have twenty items on the list, make them responsible for 5 or 10 of them. It is a good idea to make them responsible for good foods such as fruits and vegetables, healthy snacks, etc. Teach them in advance what all of the foods look like, where they come from and why they are healthy for you. In other words, get them excited about good foods.
As they begin shopping with you more often, ask your child for some suggestions as you make the list out. Remind them that video games and Barbie Dolls are not groceries!
Have them learn what prices are and how to look for the lowest price. It gives them a chance to hone their early math skills. If you pay more for something, explain why!
If you use coupons, have your child carry some of them or help clip them out in advance.
Basically, give them an early start on the importance of budgeting.
Let your child use one of those miniature carts. It gives them a sense of responsibility and of course they are fun! I know this, as I try to use them all the time and my wife tells me I’m too old for the fun carts.
Remember to teach them the phrase “excuse me” as they navigate the cart down the aisle!
Nothing is more frightening to a kid than to be on the receiving end of Mildred and Clarence’s evil stare after they’ve been hit by an errant shopping cart.
Finally, once your child completes all of his or her duties give them a small reward for helping. Let them pick out a candy bar, snack, small toy or comic book. This lets them learn another lesson. If you do a good job, you get paid for it. In this case they get something they like for the help they have given you.
Grocery shopping doesn’t have to be something that you and your child dread.
Let your kids participate in the shopping experience and instead of hearing “Clean up on aisle 12, you just might hear “What a wonderful and helpful child you have”.