American kids spend significant number of hours in passive entertainment, courtesy - the idiot box. The value of television is increasing awareness amongst kids can't be underestimated but we all know that gluing to the TV sets or video game systems for hours after the school time, leaves our kids with no time to be involved in other productive pursuits. Taking your kids along with you, while you are going for running, walking or even shopping, is a great way to engage their minds in other activities. Kids need to establish a bonding and connection with the outer world. They must learn from outdoor world experiences as it is vital for their social growth. Grocery shopping stands out as a great alternative for parents to take their kids out.
Tips on Positive Engagement of Kids in Grocery Shopping
Many parents believe that kids will rarely respond positively to an invitation of grocery shopping, a task that appears quite mundane to kids. Assuming that your kids will never agree to come out for shopping or other outdoor tasks is quite wrong. Curiosity forms the essence of a kid's life. As parents, you can positively use their curious nature to attract them for grocery shopping. You can encourage kids to participate in shopping by including interesting games. For instance, challenge them to identify correct names of five to ten vegetables in the grocery store and if they do so, award them a candy. You can also ask your kids to tell you the correct path to reach back home after shopping. These seemingly small steps give confidence to kids and they also develop their cognitive and mental skills.
If you exercise your creativity, there are many ways to get them involved in the grocery shopping. Remember that kids are hard nuts to crack. You have to be persistent in persuading them and since you know your kids very well, you have to decide the best way to take them out. In several cases, kids can't be left alone in the house due to safety concerns, so you can certainly ask them to come out with you. Kids do respond to words of love, care and authority. In case, you go shopping with kids, especially grocery shopping, do take care of following points:
- As aforementioned, encourage them to come out with you and if they agree, you must do some preparation before shopping.
- Make a list of everything you need. Check your freezer, drawers and kitchen cupboards. Double check the list. Give the list to your kids and ask them to check out if anything is left out. They will be more enthusiastic to do that task. Making a list of what you need to buy helps in arranging your budget properly. Otherwise, you may end up spending more than necessary.
- It is good to have a fixed budget in mind and then plan your shopping list. Ask the kids to make their own list of what they want from the store. This will be really exciting for the kids. You must give them a specific budget (say few dollars) in which they have to buy their favorites from the grocery store. You will see that they will love grocery shopping.
- If you have a well planned list of exactly what you need, you won't have to rush or exert your mind too much during shopping. You won't be wheeling your trolley continuously, here and there in the store. You can also look after the toddler, infant or your kids if you are well planned in your strategy. Otherwise, you know kids. They will be doing some mischief in the grocery store, touching anything, running or opening any box of chocolates!
- If you have many kids and you are taking all of them for shopping, managing them can be a difficult task. You can bring them on alternate weekends for the shopping.
- When you select a product, show your kids how to read labels, pricing and what to look for before buying the needed product. Inform them about sugar, calories, carbohydrate contents, oily packaged foods, etc. It will help them develop good shopping skills and will also increase their knowledge.
- Involve your kids in calculations as it helps in boosting their maths skills. Tell them to see price tags of the products you are keeping in the trolley and ask them to do mental calculations of all the products. They may end up calculating wrong but it is great fun and challenge for them. Moreover, they won't ideally roam in the grocery store, as they will participate whole heatedly in the shopping.
- Inform them about service taxes levied on products in retail grocery stores. Now, you can not tell them accounts and finances but just give a hint of these terms. The purpose of shopping with them is to broaden their horizons.
- Don't ever go for a tedious and long shopping with kids. They will get bored soon. Keep the shopping time reasonable.
- Don't go shopping with an empty stomach, especially with kids. You'll feel sorry for doing so as hungry kids can be seriously annoying!
- During shopping, surprise your kids by gifting them something that they ask very often but you say, 'next time, son'. They will feel delighted for such small surprises. They will also be more engaged in the shopping experience.
- As stated earlier, you must allocate some budget to your kids. Let them shop as per their wish. Keep an eye on what they are buying. At the end of the shopping, discuss with them, what better pricing products they could have purchased. If they save few cents for other works, you must appreciate them for their good habits. It is also a hint that they are developing good money management skills.
- Inform them about how to select fresh vegetables, identify fish, meat products and try to give them description of weights and measures. What is a pound? How weighing machines work? Kids will learn to know about these simple things in a grocery store.
- Let them carry items that they can easily pick up as per their weight and age.
- Explain to them the role of cashier, ask them to stay in the line for billing purposes. Once kids know how shopping is done, they will rarely ask you again where to pay the cash. Remember, kids catch up things very fast.
- Carry water bottles and milk bottle (if it's a toddler) along with you. Kids get impatient when they are thirsty and if they don't get water, they will make a scene out in the grocery store.
- Discuss with them about good shopping etiquette before entering the grocery store. Tell them that it is not good to open any box or touch any product unnecessarily.
- Carry your own grocery bags and avoid plastic bags. This will be a great lesson to your kids regarding keeping our environment clean.
- Ask them to describe their experience at the end of the day, when they go to bed. If the father wasn't there for the shopping, encourage the kids to tell their father about the shopping experience.
- If you have to cross a road, or you are walking with your kids to the market place, inform them about traffic rules and other essential safety tips.
The above mentioned tips and tricks on grocery shopping with kids must have given you deep insights about the effective way to handle kids at shopping stores. Don't expect kids to be cent percent perfect as they will create some nuisance and commit some mistakes, after all they are kids! Shopping with children can be made fun, if you plan well. It will be amusing for you to spend some busy time with your little ones, who will do some acts of both, intelligence and mischief in the grocery store! Be prepared for a fun filled and interesting experience.