Shopping with Children
By Nikki Willhite
It is always preferable to go shopping without your children!
However, sometimes you canít avoid it. This is especially true with grocery
shopping. There are things you can do to make it easier on yourself and your
children. Here are a few:
Always be sure your children are well fed before you go
shopping. If you are one to use "bribes" (like I was)- promise them that if they
behave they will get a special treat when they get home. It doesnít have to be
food- just something they want.
If you are going grocery shopping, and your children are old
enough, make them feel part of the process. Show them your list. Tell them itís
like a "game" to see if you can get through the store without buying anything
that isnít on the list. Be sure that they have something special on the list for
If you use coupons, have a time when you cut them out together.
Children love to cut out things. They can also help you file them.
If the store is a bit of a drive- make up food games to play on
the way. Use your creativity. Make a game out of reviewing the food groups, and
which food is in which group. Name a food group, and then give them a word which
rhymes with one of the items in that group and have them guess. For instance-
what rhymes with "silk"? (Donít think anyone needs this- but the answer is:
If your children misbehave in the store, do not feel intimidated
by being in public. Deal with it! I used to feel that once I started loading
food into my cart, I couldnít leave it for any reason.
Then, when my son became a box boy, he was constantly putting
back items from carts that had been left (even with frozen food, I might add,
although they didnít know how long it had been there).
I am not saying to leave your cart permanently- but if you need
to, step outside with your child, take them to your car if necessary, and deal
with the situation. Once they realize they donít have the "upper hand" in the
store, and that you will still calmly and rationally discipline them, you will
have less problems with them in the future.
Bring a small, inexpensive calculator with you, and have one of
your older children add up the prices as you go.
When you get home, let the children help as much as possible
putting the food away. Let them know beforehand what is expected of them.
Let them know why you are shopping, and how you expect them to behave.
Establish rules, and be consistent.
Try and make shopping, as well as all your activities with your