You’ve been there before. You’re strolling down the grocery aisle, looking through your list and picking out food items and cleaning supplies to put in your cart. You have a system in place, so you’re on autopilot manoeuvring the aisles. That tiny music you can blissfully ignore is playing on the PA, with the occasional interruption of promo announcements.
All of a sudden, a piercing shriek shatters your reverie. There, a few yards away from you, a small child sitting in a grocery cart is throwing a tantrum (and foodstuff) because his mom said “no” to getting more candy.
Feeling lucky that it isn’t your child? But what if it is? In case you find yourself with children on a market day, here are a few survival tips to keep sane.
Make sure they are well-rested and well-fed
A sleepy child is a grumpy child. A hungry one in a supermarket? Disastrous. Before leaving the house, make sure your kids have gotten enough sleep and eaten a substantial meal. This will keep them from throwing tantrums or whining about getting snacks because they’re starving.
Let them “drive” the grocery cart
Install your little one in the seat in front of the grocery cart and make sure to strap them in securely. This way, they can see you and all the grocery items lined up in the aisles, but can’t run around grabbing things and knocking over them. While pushing the cart, say things to your child like “Can you take us to the cereal aisle?” and let their imagination work as they pretend to be controlling your supermarket route.
Give them little tasks
It will make them feel important and instil in them a sense of responsibility. Small things like comparing sell-by dates, picking out the reddest apples, and locating the checkout counter with the shortest queue will let kids know that they also have a role in running the house. Don’t forget to thank them afterwards!
Play a grocery game together
Give your kids a piece of paper and a crayon each. Ask them to list down all the grocery items they will see that:
start with the letter ‘C’
When you’re in the car or at home, you can tally who has the longest list for each category. The winner gets to pick out the reward of his or her choice on the next market day. Come up with new categories they can work on to keep them occupied while you do the grocery shopping.
Grocery shopping need not be a tedious task but is still an essential life skill to teach your kids. With a little bit of patience and creativity, they can be helpful hands when picking up groceries.
When all else fails, you can always turn to online shopping at the comforts of your home or during your lunch break. Better yet you can introduce them to grocery shopping from home via the internet then work your way to the sometimes overwhelming aisles in your local grocery. Happy shopping!