I was inspired to write this one whilst around Tesco’s observing all the children with their parents around the Supermarket having just broken up from school for the summer holidays. I noticed (as expected) that the parents who were the least stressed were the ones involving their child/ children in the shop.

First, talk to the child about the things you need. Also set an expectation of how you expect them to behave around the supermarket that includes what’s being bought and what’s not. This gives them less leeway to fuss about wanting various “treat” items (toys, sweets etc.).

Even if they are babies/ very young toddlers, still talk to them about what you’re doing, because it provides them with language and a baby is likely to be in a portable car seat that can be placed on top of a specially designed trolley so they are more likely to be able to see your lips moving if they’re awake and take in better what you’re saying.

Second, asked your child/children to get various items for you (NB choose the items on their level so they can easily reach them). If you think they’re going to want to get every item, or you have more than one child then take in turns who get what. If your children are arguing about a particular item they both want to get, let them both get it – it’s better to be in good stock of an item and prevent an unnecessary confrontation. J

Talk to them about what you’re buying. For example, if you ask your child to get a bottle of washing-up liquid say something like; “you chose a blue one that has a eucalyptus fresh smell, thank-you”. Always show gratitude as it will encourage helpfulness. The more language you can give them the better and the supermarket is full of stimulating avenues of conversation that is all new to a young child. This can also make the weekly shop less boring for you both!

Supermarket shopping is also a good opportunity to talk to children about healthy eating and tell them a few things about how each vegetable fruit, nuts etc. nourishes the body, (NB a chance to brush up on your own personal development beforehand – it’s always good to be as organised and prepared as possible). For example; “onions are high in sulphur which is good for your hair.” Keep it simple. The good thing about these snippets of information is that it shows your child/ children that you’re “in the know” and they’re subconsciously more likely to make healthy choices as a result of these types of conversations that are more relaxed because they’re not at mealtimes when you may be thinking, “please eat it”. Plus, you’ll find yourself becoming increasingly motivated to find out more information yourself!

Also tell your child/ children why you’re avoiding certain food items, for example processed foods. Children don’t need to understand fully everything you’re saying. The subconscious feeling of importance they get from you actively showing you feel they’re grown-up enough to be told certain information will precipitate good listening. Plus, it’s the way you say things that is the most important. These types of conversations need a more “official tone that communicate; “I know what I’m talking about.” It’s conversations like this that will dramatically decrease the probability of your child/ children fussing for various items you had no plans to buy. Subconsciously they will gain an understanding that these items are not necessarily good for them. Plus, if you’ve set a firm expectation, they’ll know that you mean business.

As you can see, the weekly supermarket shop doesn’t have to be a “stress” with children; it can actually be a really opportunity for everyone to learn something new and have a really positive educational experience. If you are still feeling concerned about your ability to achieve this with your children; please get in touch at paula@paulaelizabeth.com thank-you.