By now, you know all the ins and outs of grocery shopping at your local grocery store. There’s little if any mystery involved in a trip to your supermarket.
Now imagine if this said grocery store was in a foreign country and you didn’t speak the language or really understand the currency.
You would have to rely on the pictures and a calculator to navigate through your shopping trip.
This is what it’s like for kids in a grocery store when kids go grocery shopping.
With some patient coaching, the grocery store can be a fun and educational place for a child to visit. On the next pages, well look at five ways to take the mystery and fear out of going to the market and give your child a basket full of ideas for his first solo grocery run.
You may be able to remember that you need eggs, bath tissue, and onions without a grocery list, but getting into the habit of creating a running list is a good idea. It saves wasted effort. It can also become the first step in an ongoing planning strategy your whole family can use to make notations of the things they need. Don’t stop with a simple list, either. Teach your child to relate those items to other things. If he wants to buy prepared chocolate chip cookies, does he want some milk to go along with them? If so, how much milk? To discover the answer, he’ll have to take an inventory of what’s in the fridge before he heads out shopping. A lesson learned.
2. The Money
Finding unusual items at the grocery store can be a pain. Is sea salt over in the spice aisle or with the baked goods? Are unsalted nuts by the potato chips or next to the chocolate chips? If you think it’s hard to find items, imagine how your child feels. To make things a little easier — there’s an app for that. Aisle 411 is a shopping companion that will locate grocery items for you while you’re actually in the market. You can even compile a shopping list that will devise the most efficient route through the store. It’s currently available for use in selected metro retail locations across the U.S.
Teaching good money management at the grocery store is the objective here. Make it a game. Have your child pick the best price for let’s say fruit snacks. Are his favorite ones the best price or is there one less expensive. Choosing the best price is good budgeting.
Of course, you will need to familiarize your child with the unit prices- where they’re located and then how you do a side by side comparison.
Checking out of the grocery store used to be a simple exercise. Now you have rewards programs, coupons, cash cards, etc. that you have to tender as you tally up your bill. It can be super confusing.
Have your child get used to handing the check out lady your coupons and what not to give her a sense of how things work.
3. The Goods
Help your child read the packaging where he’ll find the price, volume, and nutrition labels. Having a basic understanding of these things will help your child become a confident solo shopper.
In the produce section of the grocery store, it can be quite challenging even for adults so make sure to teach your child who to go to and how to ask for help.
Most grocery stores are large and not all that intuitively organized. Placing staple items at the back of the store is more about getting you to make an impulse purchase on your way to the bread aisle than it is about making shopping easier. Within product categories, there is some organization, though.
Teach him that when it comes to dairy and what not, the freshest products are usually in the back of the display case. Teach him to check for cracks in the eggs.
Get him used to pressing the call button for the butcher and include him in the conversation that ensues when the butcher answers the call button.
4. The Strategy
This is the way you do things to navigate through your grocery store excursion. Do you compile your list by Department so as not to waste time going back and forth? Do you get your frozen items last so as to preserve their frozen state? Do you search high and low on the shelves for the best price? What other strategies do you employ that you’d want to pass onto your little ones to help them have savvy money management skills?
5. The Layout
Most grocery stores are not intuitively organized. It’s not always easy to find the location of an item. Are the mixed salted nuts in the baking section or somewhere else? How about the chocolate chips? Or breadcrumbs? Help your little shopper learn to locate certain items well in advance of his first solo trip. Get him used to asking for assistance from the grocery store attendants.
If you think about it, the way you shop is part of your family’s culture. Passing these skills down to your children can be a rewarding experience. Grocery shopping isn’t a fun experience really but is crucial to our survival and way of life. What an incredible life lesson you have passed on.
How did you teach or do you plan to teach your child to grocery shop?
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KelliDream BIG... the possibilities are endless!