Children love shopping with you. What’s not to love?
The supermarket is geared for kids with moms. Aisles of toys that they can grab and hold onto, a snaking checkout line filled with tasty treats and well meaning old ladies who tut-tut as they glare at you and your whining children.
As much as your kids love coming shopping, as a mom, this is one chore that is often easiest done alone.
Here are some language benefits of taking your children shopping with you:
So many children don’t recognize some of the fruit and vegetables in their whole form. They usually get served their peas on a plate and their pumpkin or butternut is mushed. Looking through the fruit and vegetable section and identifying the different kinds of seasonal fruit and vegetables is a goldmine of vocabulary enrichment.
Think of peas in the pod, shapes of different fruit and vegetables, skins and pips, colors, texture etc.
2. Literacy skills
Letting children ‘read’ labels and trying to identify which brand of toilet paper or breakfast cereal you use encourages attention to print and details in the print. Ask your child to point to the where on the box it says “Coco Pops” or “Oatees.”
Ask them to identify the initial letter in the label and to think of other words starting with that sound.
Encourage your child to find labels containing a specific letter or sound.
3. Memory game
Pretend you’ve left your shopping list at home. Give your child two or three things to remember to buy and then ask them to remind you what they were. If they are able to cope with two or three items, you can increase the level of difficulty by putting adjectives before the item or by increasing the number of items to remember.
For example 2 loaves of white bread, 1 big jar of coffee and a small tin of apricot jam.
You can also send your child ahead of you in the shopping aisle to fetch an item (as long as it’s on a low shelf).
Making your child feel helpful on your shopping trip will cut down on a lot of whining.
4. Maths skills
Point out the price of the items that you are buying. Encourage your child to read the numbers. Work on concepts of more and less. For example is R9.99 more or less than R15.00. Which item costs more? Which is the cheapest?
Round off prices to make it easier and help your child add the cost of the items. By drawing your child’s attention to the price of an item you are also encouraging an awareness of print.
When paying for your groceries give your child a small sum of money and allow him to pay the cashier on their own and receive the change. It will probably annoy the person in the queue behind you, but by empowering your child and making them part of the shopping experience, it will be worth it. 🙄
5. Communication skills
Spoken language skills will develop more quickly if children have an attentive audience. Having your child is seated in a shopping cart facing you, it is the perfect opportunity to have a good old fashioned conversation.
Discuss what you are going to buy and why you are buying it.
You could discuss the ingredients that you need to buy to make a meal or a cake.
You could even discuss what you see as you go down each aisle.
Perhaps if you remember that taking your child shopping with you can be an educational experience, it won’t be such a chore next time.