Grocery Shopping with Kids - Shopping without Tears...
parenting our toddlers

Grocery Shopping with Kids
Giving Time - Teaching Skills for Life

Do you find grocery shopping with kids stressful?

  • I used to hate it, the kids were bored and got into trouble because they were bored.
  • Most kids dislike grocery shopping.
  • It can be boring noisy and busy.
  • If your child is autistic as our younger daughter, or with another disability, they may struggle more.
  • It is something about the environment of a big supermarket that triggers kids into unreasonable behaviour.
  • You will find that giving the kids something to do while you are shopping will help a lot.
  • We found stickers for good behaviour helps.
  • Go grocery shopping when it is not busy
boys shopping

You may find it helpful to try out some of the following ideas when grocery shopping with kids

  • Have a plan in case you get separated, this has happened a couple of times with us.
  • It is scary for us parents but even more so for young kids.
  • We come up with a plan such as meet by the meat counter, or speak to a shop worker(point out what they wear beforehand)
Try not to go shopping when kids are tired or hungry
  • Give the kids clear rules such as "stay by me" and "no sweets".
  • Be clear what will happen if your child does not behave.
  • Always do what you have said because your kids need to know your yes is yes and your no is no.
  • If you have said "you can have sweets if well behaved", don't give them if your child has misbehaved.
  • if your child has a temper tantrum or meltdown then take them to the restroom or outside to calm down.
  • Don't worry what other people think. remain calm and in control.
  • If your child calms down try again. If not give up the shopping trip.

Menu Plan for grocery shopping with kids
  • Give more responsibility as kids are able.
  • An idea our kids have loved to do is they plan a meal and make it for us.
  • The kids come up with a menu by looking through cookery books.
  • They make a list of ingredients and check whether they need to buy these.
  • Take the list to the grocery store with you.
  • The kids are in charge of making sure they get the ingredients on their list.
  • This keeps them focussed.

  • Get the kids involved from the start. Show them how to check whether items need to be bought
  • Have them check out your store cupboards and the fridge.
  • It is easiest to start this by telling them they need to check for yoghurts for instance.
  • Ask them to check how many you have.
  • With the kids work out how many yoghurts you will need for a week.
  • Start simple "if you eat a yoghurt a day for a week how many yoghurts do we need.
  • If you need yoghurts get kids to write it on a list.
  • Do the same with other grocery shopping you need.
  • If your kids are young it will take a while.
  • Be patient and let them do it.
  • It is good for writing skills and for math skills.
  • If your child cannot read or write or finds it difficult use pictures.
  • We used pecs(picture exchange communication system) for a time.
  • You can find some grocery pecs at

Grocery shopping with kids
  • Have your child count items into bags for example "put five oranges in the bag"
  • Find six of the best apples.
  • Can you find a square shape.
  • Show me the green apples.
  • Find a cylinder shape.
  • what is inside this tin.
  • What could we use this for ie. flour could be used for cakes, pancakes, biscuits etc.
  • Get me two tins of.....
  • Which bread do we have?
  • How much is the bread?

Grocery shopping with kids
  • How much is the....?
  • If the bread is on sale at .... how much money will we save?
  • Oranges contain vitamin C what do our bodies need it for?
  • Work out how much the bread, carrots and potatoes will cost.
  • If this item costs much change will I have if I pay with...?
  • Find a cylinder shape.
  • Find a cuboid shape
  • Can you find a pyramid shape?
  • Talk about the ingredients that processed foods contain.

More tips for grocery shopping with kids
  • Teach kids about time management, set your watch for 30mins or 45mins and they can watch the time go.
  • Let them be responsible for a list of shopping that they must get.
  • Show them how to pay at the checkout.
  • Let them carry their bag of groceries to the car and then be responsible for putting it away at home.
  • Teach your kids about money.
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Shopping Advice

Shop with kids when its not busy whenever you can.

Accept shopping will take longer with kids.

Limit the time you spend in the shop

Expect good behaviour and reward it.

Don't go shopping when kids are hungry or tired.

Get kids involved.

Try giving kids raisins to eat on the way round.

Make shopping fun.

Teach shopping skills as you go.

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