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Let’s be straight here and say that grocery shopping with kids can be a nightmare.

It requires extreme precision for the parent. You need to make sure they’re too tired to run wild and demand every sugary substance they can see, but not so tired that they have a meltdown the first time you say “no.” It’s enough to turn even the most patient adult into a frustrated mess.

The good news is that with a few tricks on your pocket you can make grocery shopping easier for you and more fun for your children. The key is to use simple games to teach and get them involved in the process.

I Spy

As your child to find and identify something in each isle that you enter. You might ask them to find three red things in the produce isle. They not only have to point them out but also name them – for example, apple, tomato and pepper. In the packaged goods isle you can change the game and ask them to find something that is round. This will make them look long and hard as most items in the packaged isle are boxes. Remember, it’s “I Spy,” so make sure you find the item before you ask them to.

Counting and/or Spelling Games

As you find items in the store, ask your child to count them. For example, if you grab three cans of soup ask your child, “How many cans of soup do we have?” This helps them learn to count and reinforces the concept. You can also ask them what colours they see on the cans and what letters or numbers they can identify.

Weighing and Helping Out

If your child is older you can ask them to help with the shopping. You might ask them to weigh a bunch of bananas. The process of weighing teaches them about physics and numbers. You can also add bananas and remove them to help further integrate the concepts. Older children can also grab items that are on lower shelves. This helps them feel useful and a productive part of the family and the shopping process.

Be Prepared

Finally, be prepared for fatigue and meltdowns. It’s not a good idea to bribe children with rewards for good behaviour but there are ways to make shopping more fun. Make sure your child is well fed before shopping and ask for their opinion on some items. For example, “do you want chicken noodle soup or tomato soup?” When children feel engaged in the process, they’re less likely to act up.

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