Grocery Shopping and Young Children: A Powerful Learning Opportunity
What can little kids learn when they are shopping with their parents in the grocery store? A huge amount!
They can learn about how to find the items and about what’s the best value. They can learn about quantity. They can learn about quality. They can learn about how much you love hanging out with them in the store and how helpful they are to you. They can also learn about boredom. They can learn about not getting what they want. They can learn delayed gratification and self-control.
They can learn a lot—if they aren’t watching a video on a phone or a tablet!
Many parents of young children allow their kids to focus on a phone or other electronic device, which is understandable because it makes shopping easier in the short term. Nevertheless, Love and Logic focuses on the effects of what parents do when kids are young and how they can greatly benefit their kids’ future lives.
We are big on paying now rather than paying much bigger later on. So, next time you’re in the store, would it be healthier for the child to be helping you shop? How can you make that happen? Here are some tips that can help make the shopping experience more enjoyable for you and more of a learning experience for your kids.
- Before you go, your child can help you draw pictures of the items you need to find. Another option is to print images of these items off the web. Now the child has something to hold in their hand as they help you on your mission.
- When they find something you need, then they will feel great about themselves. If they spot something that’s not right, you can say, “Oh, that’s really close! That’s almost what we want. Let’s look over here. Oh, look at that. It looks just like our picture. Look, it says ‘Beans.’ The letter ‘B’ stands for beans.”
- You can ask questions: “Are we going to get the small one for this price or the bigger one? I think we should get the bigger one. It’s a better value. That means the price is just a little bigger, but the quantity is a lot bigger. ‘Quantity’ is just a fancy word for how much you get.”
These things make shopping so much more fun, and think about the lessons learned with respect to vocabulary, math, and other essential skills.
Of course, they are not always going to be happy about this approach, particularly if they have become accustomed to watching videos or playing games while you are shopping. This is okay, because it is most important to give our children small opportunities to become unhappy or bored. Do these feelings still come our way as adults? The healthiest people are those who learned early in life that these feelings are temporary and that they can cope and get through them.
For more tips and solutions that can help parents work with younger kids, listen to my audio, Love and Logic Solutions for Early Childhood.
Thanks for reading! If this is a benefit, forward it to a friend. Our goal is to help as many families as possible.
Dr. Charles Fay