One of the weekly parental tasks is buying food, and in the absence of other options, we take the children with us, which makes it a complex challenge: remembering what to buy (even though we checked at home), comparing product prices and trying to ignore the children’s “buy me” calls.
It is probably better to shop without the children, but if we are already walking together – we can prepare properly and take advantage of the opportunity to give our children tools that will help them cope in the future with the challenges of consumerism and the variety of temptations that leap at us from all sides every day.
In order for the experience at the supermarket to be good and easy and the learning to be effective, it is worthwhile:
- Don’t go to the supermarket with a tired child
- Don’t go to the supermarket with a hungry child
- Don’t take all the kids shopping together
For a joint departure to the supermarket, preparations are made in advance:
- Check inventory and shortages – check the pantry and refrigerator and see what is missing and what is needed, offer the child to check for himself what products are missing. How many cheese cups left and how many delicacies, are there vegetables left in the fridge and is there pasta in the pantry.
- Making a list – you should come to the supermarket equipped with a shopping list. If your child already knows what is written, ask him to write the list himself.
- The difference between needs and wants – when preparing the list, examine the items, explain what products you need (milk, bread, vegetables) and what products you want (delicacies, sweets). Give your child examples from his world that will help him clarify the difference.
- Set expectations about choosing candy at the supermarket – define together with the child at home what he can choose for himself at the supermarket and in what amount. Allocate one candy or surprise to the small children. Children in the lower grades of the school were allocated a sum of money at his disposal to buy products as he wished, within the agreed family limitations of health and lifestyle, of course.
In most cases, preparing ahead of time at home makes the difference between a pleasant and relaxed purchase and exhausting experiences of struggling with a child who asks for more and more.
How do the supermarket owners encourage us to buy more and more?
The structure of the writer – show the children how the writer is structured. Basic products such as bread and dairy products are located in a remote location in order to force us shoppers to pass by as many products and deals as possible along the way, thus increasing the chances that we will add them to the cart.
Promotions – Explain to the children that the fact that there is a sale does not require a purchase. Maybe we don’t need the product at all, maybe the price still isn’t worthwhile for us. Take the opportunity to talk about comparing prices and practice basic arithmetic with the smaller ones and calculating percentages with the larger ones.
Dispersing the products on the shelves – show the children which products are concentrated at eye level and how to find cheaper products on the high and low shelves. Explain that people tend to purchase what is at eye level and therefore products that the supermarket earns more on will be placed in these places. You can also show them that products designed for children are on the lower shelves, at eye level and near the cash registers.
Box office line – the cash register is where everyone finishes their purchase and idly waits in line. The shelves next to the cash register are the supermarket’s last chance to sell us more products: sweets, soft drink refrigerators and more. Even at the checkout account, the sellers will offer us a few more deals at very attractive prices.
The moment of account – ask the children to keep track of the amounts of the products typed in at the checkout, and compare against the price listed on the product. Delay at checkout to check the receipt (even if the queue is large and you are already tired) and check that you were only charged for what you bought.
So how do you teach your children to deal with the variety of temptations in the supermarket?
Stick to the shopping list you prepared in advance at home – complete the purchase only according to the list prepared at home. Have you decided to purchase products that are not on the list? Explain to the child why and show him that it is not a momentary whim.
Comparing product prices – When the child understands simple arithmetic operations, show him how the supermarket is obliged to specify the price per 100 grams of product in order to enable comparison. You can demonstrate how sometimes it seems to us that a product is cheap and an examination of the price per 100 grams shows that it is actually expensive. Show your child large packages that contain only a small amount of the product.
Test deals – teach the children how to mark deals at the supermarket and find products offered on sale together with them. Point to the end date and the fine print. Together with the children, we examined the cost of the unit on sale compared to the original price, debated with them whether it is worthwhile to buy a product on sale that you did not plan to buy in advance, and whether you really need multiple units from a product that you intended to purchase.
Give upor lead by example – teach children to give up. Before paying, take out a product you like and would like to buy for a treat and skip the purchase due to the high price. Here’s how to teach your kids to give up.
And what do you do when shopping with your child goes wrong…
You went into the supermarket and the child suddenly became very hungry…
Go outside and let him eat or skip the purchase. Shopping with a hungry child can become quite a nightmare.
The child is tired and makes a scene and may even lie down on the floor
Avoid educational attempts as much as possible during the crisis, it just doesn’t work. Threats and shouting won’t solve anything. Try to remind your child that by coordinating expectations before going to the supermarket, you agreed that he will receive only one candy and finish the purchase as quickly as possible.