7 tips on how to make supermarket shopping fun with kids

No more tantrums in the supermarket with the helpful ideas in this article...

Not too long ago, going supermarket shopping with my kids was not a fun experience for me.

My boys would go crazy running up and down the supermarket aisles, grabbing items I didn’t need and asking for various things they certainly didn’t need. And of course, there were the dreaded tantrums from my then three-year-old son.

I needed to put a stop to my kids’ ridiculous antics on these supermarket trips once and for all, so I did a bit of research on how I could make supermarket shopping fun — for both my kids and myself.

Because caring is sharing, here are 7 tips that I discovered that will definitely make supermarket shopping more fun with kids!

make supermarket shopping fun with kids

Give your child a healthy snack, or ensure he or she has a nap, before you head out to the supermarket.

1. Preparation is key

As a mum, you know that it’s impossible to head out with your kids on a whim. Preparation is key to all things kid-related, and this applies to supermarket shopping too.

You know your child best. Try to eliminate those factors that might contribute to grumpiness or hyperactivity in advance.

For example, if your little one gets grumpy when he is hungry, offer him a healthy snack before heading out. Or if sleepiness makes him cranky, then ensure he has a nap before your supermarket trip.

Keep in mind: Don’t offer snacks like chocolate or cookies that might actually make your kid hyperactive. The last thing you want is a sugar-powered child running up and down the supermarket aisles! Go for a healthy, low Glycemic Index (GI) snack instead, like an apple.

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Making their own shopping list and picking up the items on it is a great way to keep your kids happy and occupied while out supermarket shopping.

2. Shopping list fun

Ask your child to help you prepare your supermarket shopping list before you head out. He could even prepare his own little list, for example, with ingredients for his favourite meal. If your child can’t write that well yet, you could even ask him to draw pictures of the things on his list.

You could also ask him to check in the fridge and see what items are running out — such as milk and butter, for example. Don’t forget to let him include one little treat for himself which he can pick up just before you pay for your items.

This will make your little helper really happy and he’ll also probably be on his best behaviour to make sure he actually gets this item!

3. Set expectations early

Children, especially younger ones, actually appreciate it and listen when you talk to them nicely about what you expect from them, including their behaviour in public.

So set your expectations for your little one before you walk in to the supermarket. In the car or even before you leave home, have a chat with your kid about how you expect him to behave, what he can and can’t put in the shopping trolley and so on.

It’s okay to even offer a ‘reward’ for good behaviour if your child is going through a dreaded tantrum phase. This could simply be the promise of a star on his star chart once you get home again, or his favourite ice-cream after lunch.

More really useful and fun tips on the next page, including shopping games!

4. Mummy’s little helper

Kids love feeling useful and important so give your little one a fitting role — that of your VIP shopping assistant! Have your little one fetch you unbreakable items in the supermarket that are on your list, and also cross off these items on your grocery list.

For example, my younger son, who is a berry lover, just loves selecting his weekly stash of strawberries from FairPrice when we do our shopping there, and is so proud of himself for helping me out like this.

You could also tell your child that he is Mummy’s little helper and that his role is oh-so-important and just watch him display his most helpful behaviour ever! And while you’re at it, why not make him a little badge that he can pin on that says “Mummy’s Little Helper”?

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“I spy” is a fun supermarket shopping game you can play with your kids.

5. Play shopping games

Your child can have loads of fun in the supermarket through playing simple shopping games. Try “I spy” — if you have bananas on your list, for example, then your clue to him could be “something yellow and yummy”.

Another fun game is “beat the clock” where you set a timer on your mobile phone, with the aim of getting out of the supermarket with all the items you need within the targeted time.

6. Practice maths and other skills

The supermarket can offer your child an unexpected educational experience, including nurturing his math skills.

For example, have your kid compare the prices of various items and tell you which one is cheaper. Or get him to check the final bill, or even check that the change you get back is correct.

You could also ask your child to show you healthy food items in the supermarket and tell you why he thinks they are good for him and your family.

7. Push the trolley

Recruit your older kids to push the shopping trolley for you, and younger children should be able to safely carry a shopping basket, provided it is not too full and therefore too heavy for them.

Again, don’t forget to remind them how absolutely helpful they are by doing this for you. Tell your little girls and boys that you think they are just so strong for carrying that ‘heavy’ basket for you!

We really hope you find these tips useful. Don’t forget to tell us if they worked for you, and your own tips of course, by leaving a comment for us below. 

For more creative ideas and healthy recipes for kids, do visit FairPrice’s For Mothers Portal, and sign up to be a part of the Mothers community.