I was doing the family grocery shopping, accompanied by two children. An event I hope to see included in the Olympics in the near future’ — Anna Quindlen
We are sure to find a lot of parents nodding their heads in agreement to this quote. Grocery shopping with young children, especially in a supermarket, is quite the experience, isn’t it? Whether they pick up one too many favourite chocolates from the shelves or just run around in the store, they tend to potentially disturb or distract fellow shoppers and also delay your own shopping. As parents, you would be at your wits’ end trying to manage them, while simultaneously remembering things that you need to buy.
However, children love the experience. Seeing their favourite vegetables, fruits, snacks and other goodies available in one place is bound to make them excited. And the next time you say — “Please stay home, while I quickly run to the grocery store” — they would not be too happy about it!
Wouldn’t you like to find ways to make grocery shopping interesting for your children? Better still, wouldn’t it be better if they learn something out of this experience? Here are some benefits that your children can enjoy when you involve them in grocery shopping.
You can start by letting your child make a list of items that you need to buy. Explain to them what the provisions are that you buy every month or fortnight, depending on the frequency of purchases. By this, they understand what goes into a month of cooking and house maintenance. After a few initial hiccups, they would start to remember the items well and maybe get that list ready even before you ask for it! This exercise enhances their capacity to plan and make a list of necessities — a skill that will come in handy when they grow up.
They would also understand the quantity of provisions required every month when you ask them to check the availability of items like soaps, detergent packets, etc, in the house and compare the number with the monthly quota required. This practice makes them develop inventory management skills very early in their lives!
Once at the grocery store, you can guide your child in searching and picking up the items on the list and helping you fill up your trolley! Start with the smaller items, such as soaps, toothpaste and other household items that aren’t heavy or at the risk of being spilt. Through this practice, children not only learn to complete tasks fairly independently but also allow you time to complete your shopping quickly. However, we don’t encourage you to try this with really young children in relatively new grocery stores/supermarkets, since they may get lost in the crowd.
Grocery shopping entails purchasing a whole host of items — including pulses, fruits and vegetables. Once back home with all your purchases, you can let your child participate in stocking them in their respective shelves at home. While doing so, you can help them identify the foods that are good for their health and teach them about their nutritional value.
For instance, you can say – “We need three kg of toor dal every month. Did you know that it gives you protein, carbohydrates and dietary fibre? We use it in daal, sambar and several other dishes that we make.”
This helps your child know three things: food requirements of the family, nutritional value of each item and how they are used while cooking. That’s an efficient way to teach essential lessons, isn’t it?
With your child involved in grocery shopping right from the planning to the delivery and the final sorting stages at home, they get a sense of the work involved in preparing the food they eat and what all is required to maintain a home well. This will make them appreciate your hard work, and they will want to help you whenever they can. Besides, when they understand the process at an early age, it prepares them for handling grocery management when they grow up! Don’t you agree?
Another obvious benefit to grocery shopping is that you can enhance your child’s mathematical skills. At the billing counter or after the grocery is delivered home, you can ask your child to look at the bill and ensure the prices are added correctly. This is a good exercise to strengthen multiplication and addition skills!
Now that we have listed the benefits of involving your child in grocery shopping, here are some fun activities that you can conduct for them, depending on their age
Draw the items that you buy during grocery shopping
Grocery scavenger hunt in the store!
Write a list of items that we need, check the remaining items at home
and make a shopping list!
Find the vegetables, pulses, etc, that give you proteins!
Did you think these are useful tips? Try incorporating them in your daily schedules and let us know how your children enjoy it in the comments.
Aparna is a mom, singer and dreamer. At BYJU'S, she writes stories about learning for children. She believes in the power of music, especially ghazal, the magic of the universe and happy learners. When not writing or singing, you will find her intensely engaged in conversations about life and the power of words.
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