I know ya’ll are thinking I’ve gone bonkers. Like totally lost my marbles. Or maybe just forgot a word in the title. Because most moms will agree that taking their kids to the grocery is torture, punishment, or any other type of that word. But I don’t fall in that category.
Now don’t get me wrong; my kids aren’t little angels who walk beside me in silence, keeping their arms to their sides and not asking to buy anything along the way. In fact, I’m generally armed and ready to decline some of their requests and definitely put my patience cap on before entering the store. But I absolutely believe that there are life skills to be learned at the grocery store. And there’s no better time to start than today.
1. Numbers and Letters. My kids, ages 12, 10, 8 and 5 have been frequenting the store with me since they were born. Yep, I could often be seen with a Baby Bjorn walking the perimeter of my local food shop with baby in tow. And as they turned into toddlers, I would let them walk, sometimes pushing the mini carts available, or sometimes just walking. Before they could read, they were being exposed to letters and number, something I believe that this is beneficial to them.
As soon as they started to read, I would ask them what words they recognized. Could they find any words that they could read? Or how much is that can of tomatoes? Which black beans are a better option, and why?
2. Food costs money. Food ain’t free, folks. And we don’t have a money tree growing out back, which means we need to make choices. We can’t buy everything, and we have to price compare. HEL-LO, I mean this is a life skill that will absolutely come in handy down the road when they are comparing pairs of designer jeans, right?! All kidding aside – I want them to know that no, we cannot buy everything that we want. And we have to look at various sizes, brands, etc. and decide what makes the most sense. Sometimes it’s advantageous to buy a bigger size, and sometimes it’s not. And perhaps we should alter a meal to include an item that is on sale.
3. People interaction. Stepping out in front of other people (no!), saying hello to the man in the meat department (yes!), seeing a familiar face. When you leave your kids at home, they don’t get to witness all of these people interactions that go on in public. You run into a friend and ask them how they are and engage in a meaningful conversation. When your kids witness this, it goes into their memory. They see you treating others in a respectful, kind manor, something we all want our kids to replicate. ’Nuf said.
4. Participate in planning. I’m a big planner when it comes to meals and food shopping. With today’s technology, you can already know what’s on sale for the week and also search through recipes that sound appealing to you. So why not include your kiddos in some (or all) aspects of this planning? Give them a stack or recipes or books and have them pick one for the week. Have them create a shopping list (great for blossoming writers) and have them note an item or two that they’d like for your family to purchase.
5. All about food. So many lessons can be learned in the store. Why don’t they have strawberries when I want strawberries? Or why won’t you buy them, mom (if they are $6/lb.)? It’s time to talk seasonality, folks. It’s also a great time to explain why you won’t buy Fruity Pebbles (hello sugar, food dyes and a bunch of other un-real ingredients).
6. It’s reality. In all honesty, another reason why I started taking my kids to the store with me was because I could. Time is valuable, and I’d rather work when I had any time away from my kids, whether it was childcare, school or naps. Taking them to the grocery store with me was an option that made better sense if we’re talking time management … and let me let you in on a little secret: it’s life. One day your kids will grow up and they’ll have to do these duties, too. And if you never show them how it’s done, they won’t be so well equipped. Who knows – you may all enjoy it more than you think, and I guarantee that the more you do it, the better they’ll behave.
——-> FREE DOWNLOAD <———
I put together this fun worksheet that’s tailored to kids 10 and older. Download it here, and let your kids have fun on this “scavenger hunt” type of activity, as my eldest calls it! Grocery Store Activity Sheet EasyRealFood.com
I want to hear from you – do you take your kids shopping with you? Why or why not? No judging here – I promise!