Parents: taking your children on a grocery store adventure with you may be an exhausting endeavor, but a valuable experience nonetheless, as it fosters real life learning. Grocery shopping enables children to enhance a vast set of skills while gallivanting around the supermarket, including skills that will allow wise food choices to be made on their own in during their later years. Tanya Remer Altmann, a pediatrician, claims, “The more often your kids shop with you, the better it is for their development.”
Yes, taking your children grocery shopping may have been a nightmare in the past that revolved around whining, begging, boredom, and misbehavior. But not anymore, because I am going to give you some tips on how to make grocery shopping with kids manageable. The technique? Make kids part of the shopping process far before you venture out to the store.
Prior to setting foot in the store, start with some preliminary planning.
- Instead of you making a list of healthy food items, spend some time talking about healthy meals and snacks with your children. Based off of your discussion you can then, together, make a list of all the ingredients, meals, and snacks needed for your home.
- Give your children the option of picking out a new food item, as long as it is healthy. Before shopping you can help them decide what this food may be. This can assist in keeping them involved emotionally.
- Remind your kids of the type of behavior that is appropriate in the grocery store in order to avoid unnecessary chaos.
Once you embark on this shopping adventure and you’re finally in the store, try to keep kids busy and give them tasks that they can handle. Here are some tips:
- Let the kids do the work:
~Give kids coupons and ask them to find the relevant foods
~Split up the shopping list so each child can locate a series of food items while strolling through each aisle
~Have them create a check list where each item needed can be crossed off as it is placed in the shopping cart
- Create Games:
~Have your children guess how much each item will cost and see who chose the closest number to the actual cost
~If you are in the produce section have them guess how much (three) oranges costs, then let them weigh the fruit on a scale to see if they were correct
- Play I Spy so kids can search for particular food items. For instance:
~Find the vegetable that resembles a tree and is high in vitamin C
~Locate whole grain bread with at least 2 grams of dietary fiber
- Try Something New!
~Purchase a new fruit or vegetable that you and your kids have not tried before, such as a papaya
~Or buy many different “odd” fruits and vegetables and have a taste test at home
Be patient. Shopping with kids may take some time and is skill that might develop more slowly. Do not try to do everything at once. Plan a list of food items to shop for and stick to it. Remember to have fun with your kids and keep in mind that you are teaching your children a valuable lesson of how to shop and eat healthy for the rest of their lives!
written by Natalie DiRocco