How to survive the supermarket with your kids

Shopping with kids can be tricky. Here are six of my favorite tips, to help you survive a trip to the supermarket with your kids.

If I asked you what you like to do for fun, I imagine your response wouldn’t be heading to the supermarket with your kids. The reality is though, that if your family wants to eat, you probably need to go to the shops, and sometimes that involves dragging the kids along to ‘help out’.

Shopping is usually much more pleasant when you go in prepared, and by prepared I mean just using a simple trick or two to help make that shopping trip as enjoyable as possible. 

Here are six of my favorite tips, to help you survive a trip to the supermarket with your kids:

1. Get the kids involved

Most kids love feeling like they’re important, and it’s easy to do this by getting them involved in the process. When you’re meal planning, why not let the kids choose a meal a week, which they can help write the shopping list with you, look for the ingredients at the supermarket and then help you cook the meal. 

At our house my girls love taco night, so they help chop the salad ingredients with their kid-safe knife, and set the table.  

2. Feed them first

We all know that we shouldn’t shop on an empty stomach, because we’re more likely to buy things we don’t need, simply out of hunger. Not only are kids the same, but hungry kids are rarely happy kids. So it’s a good idea to make sure they have breakfast or lunch before they hitting the shops.

3. Get fruity

Some Australian supermarkets now offer free fruit for children when shopping. Let your kids pick their piece of fruit as you arrive at the supermarket and let them munch as you shop. 

4. Give the kids a list

This is a great way to get the kids involved, especially for those who are starting to write and learn new words. Ask your children to write down two to three things on a list that they need to shop for. As you push the trolley around the supermarket, have them look out for those items, and add them to the trolley when they find them. It let’s them feel important and like they’ve got a very important job, which they do! 

5. Get app happy

The FoodSwitch App is a fun, yet educational way to explore how packaged food rates for items such as salt, sugar, fat and saturated fat with the kids. Simply scan a product, and see how it rates by looking at the traffic light system it uses (green means good, while red lights mean the food isn’t as optimal for your family). It also suggests healthier alternatives to the product you have scanned.

Let the kids scan different food items to see how they rate and then start a treasure hunt to find the healthier alternative. You can download the App for free here.

6. Treat time

I know this sounds like a bribe, but it isn’t! I promise. It’s an incentive. I allow my girls to have one, very small item each during a shop. It might be a small bottle of bubbles for them to blow when they get home, or a pack of stickers. 

For older children, you can give them a budget (say $2) and say they’re allowed to spend that money and nothing more during the shop. It helps teach them to check prices and spend within that budget.

Personally, I find that whatever one-on-one time I can get with either of my kids without the other around is special. Sometimes that means dragging one to the supermarket while the other stays home with their dad. It’s nice the conversations that can take place when you’re doing simple things as shopping. 

Shopping can be fun, as long as you prepare yourself first to give you the best chance of success, and hopefully avoiding any shopping aisle tantrums; theirs not yours, of course!

Make little moments matter

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