Advice Column, Parenting, Toddler

Make shopping fun with your Toddler

Shopping can be a complete nightmare for most parents with a toddler and we tend to try and fit it in when they not around. Follow these tips taken from the book Raising Happy, Healthy Children by Andalene Salvesen to make shopping fun.

Before you go shopping, remember to feed your child, otherwise the sweet counter is going to look even more tempting, especially if they have a blood sugar dip. En route in the car, discuss the rules when we shop:

  • We are not going to buy any sweets.
  • Listen to mommy.
  • Stay near the trolley.

Making shopping fun

  1. You can play a game at home with them called Red light, Green light. When you say Green light they run, when you say Red light they freeze. Now try this in the supermarket aisles. Let them run ahead, then say ‘Red light’! While they freeze and giggle, you put your shopping into the trolley. As you get closer, say ‘Green light’ again. Repeat.
  2. Have them cut out pictures of groceries from a magazine and file them in a box. Before going shopping, have them take out their ‘shopping list’ pictures and stick them onto paper. Take this, as well as a pencil, to the shops so that when you find the milk, for instance, they can mark that off their list. This keeps them engaged as well as improving their matching skills.
  3. Allow a younger child to walk alongside the trolley ‘helping’ to get items off the shelf. Keep them engaged by talking about the different uses, colours and types of groceries. Explain that if they don’t listen or if they run off, then they will be put back into the trolley for ‘time Out’. Do this for two minutes, even if they scream the whole two minutes. Take them out again and say, ‘Right, stop crying and let’s try again’.
  4. Children usually love riding in those coin-ride cars or animals. Find out what a ride costs and have enough money in small coins for one ride. Explain to your children that after you have finished shopping, they will be able to go on a ride IF they have earned enough money. Explain that you will be doling out coins every so often for good behaviour. However, you will also be taking away for disobedience or fighting. At the end of the trip, either take them for a ride (even if it is only one of them that earned enough) or if there isn’t enough, they can save it for next time or buy a small fruit juice or something acceptable for the amount of money they still have left over.
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