Shopping With The Kids

Good morning my dear Minette

Minette by the pool

You dread the moment when it is time to Shopping With The Kids because it turns out to be a nightmare. You can already predict what is going to happen.

There is always the whining about wanting something or how long before we can go home, demanding and crying.

This is a quite long letter, my dear because I want you to read this all in one go. Too much valuable information to miss, because I include everybody in a family, from babies to teenagers.

I am sure you have often found yourself in a situation where you have to go shopping with the kids, knowing it is not the best combination when in a hurry.

Shopping with the Kids, Family, Shopping Center, Purchase, Food


Preparing for the Shopping Trip

What to Consider

Planning a list is the magic key, especially Easter and Christmas shopping. Include everyone with their needs and wants. Always be fair.

You are the role model your kids will follow and they will repeat the pattern you set. Indeed there are ways to make it a good experience for all.

This opportunity can be used to teach the children valuable lessons on how to plan a shopping trip. Including them in the whole process from planning the list around the table get them to know the routine. Send them to check on the supplies in the cupboard.

Be never in a hurry when they are with you. Have patience and make it an enjoyable event. They are learning valuable shopping lessons for their future.

Shopping With The Kids

Start at Home

At home, you as the parent should be teaching them from a young age their behaviour and habits in different situations. The reasons and why should be explained to them. Make them understand what is proper behaviour and what is expected.

How to behave in a car while someone is driving and why. What is expected of them and how to behave in the shop, in church and when adults are having a conversation? Teach them how to be respectful.

Also, teach them safety habits when out in the street. Take their hand and explain what to do when crossing a street.  Teach them a ritual to do before crossing a street.

They should be aware of cars coming from both sides, and other people around them, and what to do to keep safe.  Keep your purse and phone hidden away, where they can’t be seen. Always stay in the moment, focus, and never act on impulse.

If your children are good and comply with the etiquette rules there will be a reward waiting for them. Make it a treat and not a thing. Make it something they will enjoy doing, a special ice cream, or their favourite food for a trip to the park.

Discuss this at home, hang the carrot in front of their noses. If you leave it until they have missed behaving inside the shop, it is a bribe and will have no value. Be consistent in your behaviour, they will only get rewarded if they are good all the time.

Before going shopping have a snack and let them use the bathroom. Never wise to go shopping on an empty stomach.

Shopping with the Kids

In The Shop


Always take great care with children in the shopping trolleys.  Secure the baby chair, and strap it to the trolley if necessary. Make sure they are safe when you push the trolley.

Take the time and make your toddler feel comfortable in the trolley seat or sitting in the trolley.

1. Babies.

The best time to shop with a baby is when it is time to sleep. They will get used to the noises and sleep all the way in their little baby chair. Have a bottle of their favourite juice or water handy as well as a clean nappy.

2. Toddlers

Make sure they are well-rested and fed. Arrange your shopping trip around their schedule.

Discuss and tell them why you are going to the shops and you want them to help you when old enough. Make the shopping list short to get them used to going shopping with you. It is important to make them excited to go shopping for the right reasons.

Make sure your toddler sits comfortable and will not fall out.  Have a harness or Velcro straps, loosely attached to make your child sit safe in the trolley, and not fall out.

Never leave your trolley to find something or chat with a friend. In that fleeting moment, something can go horribly wrong. Push the trolley everywhere you go. Always keep your child in your eyesight.

Make them aware

Shopping with the Kids Boy in trolley with Mum looking at products in Supermarket, Shop, Show them the items on the shelf and let them help decide, get them involved with the choices. Show them the options to choose from, if they point to a different tomato sauce brand, select their choice.

Allow them to pick four red apples and four green apples. Show them if there are bad marks on it and select a better one. Do the same with potatoes and tomatoes.

Pack a snack box for them at home with a few of their favourite sweets without paper wrappings and chippies. Keep it in your bag, and hand it to them when they get irritable or peckish.

Even a colouring book with one or two colouring pencils tied to the book with a string helps to keep them occupied.

Start your shopping by selecting the most important items on the list first. The moment they say they want to go home, you know the shopping trip is over, rather come back later to get the rest. Pay and go home before a tantrum. You can not reason with a tired bored toddler.

Keep the experience enjoyable. Let them choose the sweeties and chippies, select only one per week.   Involve them wherever you can and soon they will start enjoying it.

Praise them for their effort. Tell them how proud you are of what they have done. They have helped you to buy food for daddy. It gives them a feeling of self-worth and pride.

Shopping With The Kids

3. Young Children

At home when writing the shopping list ask them what are their favourites and add that to the list, or even better let them make their own list and compare.

Have an empty piece of paper, marked SHOPPING, pasted to the fridge for them to list an item needed on the next trip. Debate the need and urgency of items.

Sending them off to check on the stock still available in the cupboard, discuss and decide how much to buy. This will help them to estimate what is needed.

Give them the responsibility to put the bags and cool containers in the car. Have a checklist and mark it off before you go.

When they know they can select something for themselves, one item within the budget gets them all excited. As they grow older, change it to get something for the family instead, teach them to share.

Engage by letting them help you find the products on the shelves, but keep a close eye on them and don’t let them out of your site.

As they get older and can read and write, let them list their needs, toiletries, snacks for school, and maybe stationery for school.

Get them a small trolley and they do their own shopping with your assistance. Teach them how to select, what to look for. What is the best value for money and discuss why is it the best?

Give them the authority to make sure the product or package is not damaged, and the fruit is not overripe or rotten. Turn the container with 6 eggs over to look for leaks from broken eggs.

You and the children have decided to bake some cupcakes for the weekend. At home, let them write the list of ingredients from the recipe, and see what is in the cupboard.

Mark off what is already at home and keep what is needed on the list to get from the shop. When shopping let them find it on the shelf and mark it off the list as they go.

Let them place their goods from their trolley on the counter at the cashier, Mum will pay.

They can pack the goods in a bag, put it in their trolley and push it to the car. Tell them how proud you are of their achievement, they have helped you tremendously with this big task of helping the family.

Making them part of the team. It gives them confidence knowing they took part in an important aspect of the household and shared the responsibility. They have helped to make it all possible and they shared in the control.

4. Older Children

Give older children an allowance with their pocket money. An allowance to buy their own personal goods like toothpaste, deodorant,  shaving cream, shampoo, conditioner, body spray, etc.

Teach your child how to budget. Make a list and never spend money you don’t have. It teaches them discipline and self-control. First, buy what is needed, and if there is money left, put it in a savings box or account. Save all the little bits of change until they have enough to buy what they want. Teach them to keep this money separate and not to spend it.

In the beginning, let them do their shopping with you from their own list and be with them when they pay. Soon they have confidence from experience and do it all on their own. One day soon you will trust them to do the grocery shopping for you because they will know the system.

If they want some new clothes, send them on a photoshopping spree. Let them go to town with a friend and take photos of all the articles they want.

They have to bring photos of three different options of the same item they want. They will love it because now they can shop until they drop without spending a cent. Making sure to get what they want.

Shopping with kids, Two girls with phones in an open market looking at clothes

At home download, it on the computer discuss their options but let them tell you what and why. Let them sleep on their choice. Double-check in the morning and get the goods they want that same day. That is an informed decision and not buying on impulse.

Teach them never to trust anybody, for their own safety and reputation. Don’t believe what someone says, always double-check and make sure for yourself. As a good friend once said, my dear, you don’t even trust your shadow.

Shopping With The Kids

The Importance of Teaching them the Art

Your children will be so grateful one day if you teach them how to shop, it will be a valuable lesson they will always be happy about.

Planning the trip, taking care of the bags, and most of all making a shopping list and enjoying it. Inside the shop, it is essential to know what to look for in a product, and how to select the best items within a budget.

Shopping is a continuous act. Everybody does shopping, some people for their own joy and others as a service, there will always be a need.

Habits when shopping are a form of art and not everybody is successful. Every household should be frugal to save wherever they can.


Your children will be so grateful one day if you teach them how to shop for the best products within their budget. Never buy on impulse. It will be a valuable lesson they will always be thankful for.

Until next time, happy shopping!


Picture of Estelle

Mom Estelle

Be a Fabulous, Feisty and Fearless Lady.


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9 Comments on “Shopping With The Kids”

  1. Hi Estelle,
    What a great post! I have always looked at taking the kids to the store with some real anxiety! But, now after reading some of your tips, I think I can manage much better. The Idea of a colored pencil tied to a coloring book is great! Eliminates having to chase that pencil. But, as you pointed out, the children should be praised for helping out with the family responsibilities, and of course for good behavior as well.
    I also like the idea of letting them make a list the day before and sleeping on it, giving them a chance to decide if they really want the item. These are all good tips, and I enjoyed reading it. I wonder if a bribe to go to a fast food place afterwards would help with the whining for things in the store?
    Thank you!

    1. Thank you for your kind words Chas!
      Bribing never has good results in the long run … hahaha.
      I would rather recommend you say, only good behaviour amongst all, will get rewarded with a trip to the Fast Food place.
      The best way to keep them from whining is to occupy them with tasks. Making them proud in helping you with an important task to feed the household for the week. Have the patience to accommodate them and teach them how to shop.
      Thank you for a valuable comment.

    2. Hi Chas,
      Yes interaction with kids should always be a pleasure.
      Build a relationship based on friendship and not an authoritarian one. Seeing them as your little friends and not little monsters can be very rewarding. It is a mindset change.
      There will be no misunderstandings when you set clear uncompromising rules with boundaries, it is so important and stick to your guns.
      When you set the rules at home with the consequences, everything they do in the shops will get judged against that and there won’t be the need for any bribery.
      All the other kids will be the judge and jury … hahaha!
      Thank you for lifting out situations. I am glad you could take away something of value!
      I appreciate you stopping by.

  2. Hi Estelle,
    Some great tip on shopping with children. Getting the children involved in the process is a very good tip as it will stop them getting bored. That is where the whining starts if they are bored.

    Teaching your children how to shop and behave when they are shopping is a vital education for their future. As you say it is something we will be doing for life so showing them the ins and outs of shopping is a valuable lesson for them.

    Thanks for your informative post and your ideas about shopping with your children.


  3. Hey Estelle,
    What a great post. We had struggled with our little girl when she was 2 then 3 then 4 etc (she’s now 5). This was mainly due to the “i want…..” problem when she saw something she wanted. It was mainly those pre-packaged instant eat baby yoghurt’s that she asked for.

    So I wish I had read your advice earlier. Where you say to pack a snack box for them at home with a few of their favourite sweets without paper wrappings and chips/snacks is a great idea. If we had’ve done that then we wouldn’t get the demands during the food shopping. I can see how you have many ideas to turn this into a life skills learning opportunity.
    Thanks again!

    1. Hi John it is dreadful to take whining and demanding children with to the shops, we see it so often. There are so many ways to make it a fun trip for all.

      Talking about the snack box, when I was little my Mom used to make me a snack box when they were visiting friends, and sometimes put in enough for all. No need for me to come and nag I am hungry or want something.
      The idea is to set family traditions in place before going shopping, therefore everybody knows what is expected of them. Trying to enforce rules inside boils down to bribery and will have a negative outcome.

      Talking about boundaries, did you know kids love it when you set boundaries? It makes them feel secure. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries from an early age, and it can change as they get older. It teaches them self discipline too. If you don’t do it the children will keep pushing you to all limits … hahaha!
      Thank you for an inspiring comment, and I am glad you found something of value.
      Take care!

  4. Shopping with kids can be exhausting! And with the naggings, pouting, demands and chaos, you can almost lose your sanity. It’s the reason I always try to shop solo, but that’s just not as feasible. I think shopping with toddlers is the most demanding, and this is because that’s my only point of reference and like you said, there is no reasoning with a tired bored toddler.

    Your suggestions on involving them in the shopping process and praising them for their effort is now my go-to. I can’t wait and I know it’ll be effective.

    Thank you for these helpful tips. I’ll definitely try these techniques out you have suggested on our next shopping trip.

    1. Thank you for taking the time Femi!
      Shopping as such, can be very exhausting. Diverting your attention and focus when you are in a hurry. How will they learn the tricks of the tread?

      Finding a family tradition around shopping will make every trip a pleasure, involve everyone to contribute to this plan. Having a detailed plan of action from making the lists at home and how and who is responsibly to fetch what for the trolleys is essential.

      A good idea is to treat the family with breakfast before the shopping, nobody will be hungry and everybody is in a good mood. One final hint, never be in a hurry when shopping with the family, choose your time to make it an event.
      Happy shopping Femi!

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