How to Go Shopping with Kids

Shopping can be an expensive and exhausting affair even when you have the luxury of doing it on your own. If your timing and lack of childcare means you have to go shopping with your kids, you need to be prepared. It does not have to be a completely unpleasant experience. You can turn your shopping trip into an educational affair, and let the kids help you no matter what their age or skill level. Go shopping with kids by creating a shopping list, giving each child instructions, and creating an atmosphere of fun and learning.


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    Plan the timing of your shopping trip to avoid crowds and empty bellies.
    • Go to the grocery store in the morning after breakfast or in the early evening after dinner. Go to the mall on a weekday instead of the weekend.
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    Communicate your expected behaviors. Before you even get into the car, explain to your kids what you expect from them at the store. Ask if they understand.
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    Make a list. Prepare a shopping list, and ask for input from your children. This will keep your shopping on track and will cut down on impulse buying.
    • Allow your children to carry their own lists. For example, if you need to buy them shoes or you promised them ice cream, allow them to write down those items on their list.
    • Ask your children to check the list if they want you to buy something that is not on there. Explain that you will add it to the list the next time you shop. This will help them understand why you are saying no, and will teach them delayed gratification.
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    Bring snacks. Avoid tantrums and meltdowns with a few healthy snacks. Pack a baggie of carrot sticks or grapes to keep little kids busy and fed.
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    Put the kids to work. Give your children age-appropriate tasks.
    • Send older kids off on their own to locate items on your list.
    • Ask school-aged kids to cross items off the list as you put them in your shopping cart or basket. You can also have them read you which items are next on the list.
    • Let younger kids help by counting the number of items you ask for, such as apples, or taking packages off the shelf and putting them into the cart.
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    Educate your kids while you shop.
    • Ask your young readers to read you food labels or price tags on clothing. Younger kids can even look for specific letters and numbers.
    • Have your older children comparison shop. Ask them to find you the best deals on certain items. This will help them learn how to budget.
    • Encourage questions. Children can work on their social skills and learn new things by talking to sales associates and professionals in different sections of the grocery store.
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    Look for opportunities for physical activity.
    • Ask your children to help you load groceries or shopping bags into the car and then into the house. Let them help you put things away when you get home.
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    Thank your children for their help. Reinforce good behavior by acknowledging it.
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    Ask your kids to begin preparing a list for the next shopping trip. They can include any approved items that they wanted to get on that day, but were denied.


  • An example is Memorizing the Shopping List, younger children can remember at least 2 or 3 items and older children can remember up to 5 or more. Plus, fun memory games mean you don't have to carry flashcards around when shopping.
  • Remember to make safety a priority. If you allow your children to sit in the cart, make sure they are buckled in. Instruct your kids to stay with you and not wander off, unless they are old enough to be on their own in a store.
    • Interactive games can reduce tantrums-


  • Have a meeting point so if you get spilt up or lost you can locate each other there.
  • When taking your children down store sections that contain glass goods, have a code, set some rules so that are no accidents.
  • Laying down ground rules will teach children the right behaviour when out in the supermarket and will create more successful shopping trips.

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Categories: Shopping