Here are some tips to make shopping a positive experience.
Be Realistic: is your child too tired or hungry to shop? Are you? If yes, postpone your trip.
Review the rules: before entering the store, state your expectations, for example,
“Stay with me,”
“Look with your eyes,”
“Walk in the store.”
Take a list: let your child know what’s on the list and how much you have to spend. This helps with understanding the realities of family budgeting.
Let the child help: “Do you remember where the beans are?” “Help me find the chicken soup.” They can also help with reading the list: “What do we still have to get?”
Read Labels: teach your child to read labels. “We need spaghetti sauce. Can you choose one that doesn’t have sugar listed in the first 5 ingredients?”
Give Responsibility: let your child push the cart, add up prices on a calculator, cross things off the list, etc.
Praise: show appreciation. “Shopping is a lot more fun when you’re along to help out.”
Negotiate: if your child is starting to get tired or bored, address those feelings. “You’re tired and we’re not finished yet. We still have bread, apples and jam to get. What would you like to do?” Then be ready to negotiate.
Add Fun: stop at the library, museum, or local park for a fun break during shopping.
Respect Limits: if misbehavior persists, it may help to shorten shopping trips and to go when your child isn’t with you. Trade babysitting with friends when you need to shop by yourself.
You may reprint these tip sheets, free and without special permission, provided that you include the following copyright statement: © King County Library System, Parent Trust and Washington State PTA.