Make Grocery Shopping with Kids Fun and Educational

8:53 PM

Grocery shopping with kids offer the perfect setting for parent melt-downs and child tantrums. What with all the supermarket goodies beckoning to children and the ever-dwindling budget of mothers. Parents can allow grocery shopping with kids to become a weekly nightmare or a weekly opportunity to educate and have fun with their children.

The Challenges:

1. Abiding by the Budget

It is actually more difficult to abide by a given budget when shopping with kids. There is always something that will catch their fancy which they would request or even demand to be bought. This is actually very straining not only to the budget but also to the patience of the parent.

2. Explaining to Children Why Something They Want Cannot Be Bought

Young children do not yet have a real grasp of the concept of needs and wants. For many children, they need everything they want. They can think of all sorts of reasons why it is "absolutely" necessary to buy a newly-introduced flavor of candy when they still have many waiting to be eaten at home from previous grocery shopping.

3. Restlessness and Boredom

Young children tend to get restless easily while older children can get bored with grocery shopping. It can be very stressful to have kids running all around the grocery that can result to breakage and accidents. Older children tend to go their own way and may not be readily available when parents need their help.

4. Personal Temptation to Over-Spend

Parents also have to contend with their own challenges in preventing themselves from overspending. The desire to please family members may provide a justification to buy what is not needed. This is especially challenging when children show their obvious preference to have something bought.

5. Limited Time

Most parents today have to squeeze in grocery shopping in between work and home task. This results to very limited time left to make wise choices especially when young children are asking for food and crying to get home. There is the tendency to grab the first thing on sight which creates havoc on the budget.

Possible Solutions:

1. Make a List

It is always wiser to come to the grocery equipped with a list. This ensures that necessities such as nutritious food are bought first. Some wants can be bought if there is any surplus after the needs have been attended to. 

2. Brief the Children

Parents can make grocery listing a family task. This type of involvement will make children aware that there are things that need to be bought first in order for the household to function efficiently. By providing explanations understandable to children, they will be less demanding to have unnecessary wants bought.

3. Educate and Assign Tasks

Grocery shopping provides the opportune time for parents to teach their children about the practical side of the task. Counting grocery items, reading labels, and determining the best price, provides learning that are not offered in school. Specific tasks can also be assigned especially to older children such as reminding parents of items on the list that may have been forgotten. Any activity that will encourage children to stick with their parents and help while shopping is a welcome opportunity for family bonding.

4. Give in to "Luxury" Once in a While

Anything that is not commonly included in the weekly budget can be considered a luxury. Continuous deprivation of things the family would really like to have can sometimes kick back with a vengeance through overspending at the next opportunity. It is much better to indulge once in a while.

5. Prepare

Sometimes, there is nothing that can be done to extend time. The wisest option therefore is to prepare for it so the time will be maximized. Aside from preparing a grocery list, parents must make sure that they and their children have eaten prior to the task so they will have the energy to finish it without further aggravation to the limited time. 

My Say

As a very busy mother and homemaker, I am often tempted to go to the grocery by myself because I finish a lot faster. I can stick to my list without having to listen to various requests from my children. I soon realized however that I am depriving myself and my family the opportunity to learn from each other in a more relaxed setting.

That said, our family has settled on a regular schedule to do our weekly grocery shopping together after going to mass. Being young, my children would still make random requests for items not agreed upon. I give in if we can afford it and would simply tell no if we can't. My children have mastered the art of saying "next time", and we parents would in turn  try to find a way to accede to their request next grocery shopping or the next depending on our available budget. All of us are in the mean time learning the art of give-and-take as our family tries to live a happy life on a budget. 

Grocery shopping with kids can be fun and educational both for parents and children.

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