Although, when the kids are along, it can be a nerve-racking experience. Here are some things we do to try to make grocery shopping (or any shopping experience) more enjoyable for all.
- Involved: Get the kids involved by prepping them to help pick out stuff. Make sure they have some guidelines like helping pick out veggies for their lunches and snacks.
- Nutrition: Teach them to look up fat, salt, sugar, and anything else you are concerned about on the label. Have them pick the healthiest by some guideline like the least fat and then let them choose.
- Avoid the Ick: Teach them to read ingredients and avoid over processed foods. A good one here is yogurt. Take a look at a plain yogurt and notice the lack of added ingredients and then try out some of the others that have a list a mile long.
- Math: Have them choose fruit for the family but they must calculate how much. In our family we aim for 2-3 fruit a day. We then have the kids figure out 2 fruit x 4 people x 7 days. We have fun with this one by changing the numbers around, pick out 4 types of fruit and get enough for the week. This keeps them busy while Mom and Dad are picking out veggies for cooking.
- Feed Them: We are lucky enough to have some groceries stores around that have kids clubs that let the kids eat a piece of fruit for free while they are shopping. If we are in a store that does not have that then we let them eat a piece of fruit that we are buying and have the cashier ring in one of them a second time.
- Frugal: Teach them to compare per unit costs to find lowest cost option. Easy to do with Milk, Orange Juice, cereal, etc. We combine this with the Nutrition and the Avoid the Ick tips above with things like individual yogurts. This puts lots of skills to work at once.
- Weighing: Have them weigh things and do math to calculate how much per lb items will cost. Especially in the fruit section, let them compare a papaya and a melon. Have them pick the one that costs less.
Doing these things can sometimes make my trips to the grocery store longer, in the short term. Longer but more pleasant as the kids are actively helping me shop.
The other great thing about these skills is that it encourages something we have been working on with our boys. They are learning to be contributing members of our family.