For a majority of parents, shopping with children is an impossible equation. However, it is one of the moments to share that is most precious for children's learning: you can touch food, smell it, taste it even sometimes, if you take the time to stop. But it's much more than that! At the grocery store, you can have the opportunity to teach a variety of other concepts that surround everyday life. Whether cognitive, social, temporal or spatial. But first, as adults, we must stop seeing the grocery store yourself as a chore, take the time to prepare this outing and know how to enjoy it.
How to prepare well?
Already, many of you are working with a list of foods to buy, so if this is the case for your family, all you have to do is adapt it to your child. How? 0-5 years: For children who cannot read or write, it is possible to involve them before the release by asking them to cut out the items on your list from the flyers and draw the missing items. Then place each item in envelopes identified according to the food sections to avoid trouble once at the grocery store. 6-12: Gradually, you can ask them to write the grocery list under your supervision and take the opportunity to correct some spelling errors along the way. To increase the level of difficulty, you may also want to ask your child to sort foods into different food categories (meat and fish, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, grain products, etc.) to make your food easier. once you get to the supermarket, while introducing some knowledge. 13-17: For your teens, you may want to ask them to write the list based on the week's meals that have been previously selected. Thus, you can measure their thinking by validating if they think about all that is necessary to cook a meal following a recipe. For those who would be on the road to full autonomy, you could add the budget not to exceed to see if they are able to calculate their costs to avoid surprises when paying the bill.
Once you're at the grocery store, where do you start?
Before you even go to the supermarket, you have to make sure it's a good time not to feel rushed or preoccupied as it would only increase your lack of patience and it would inevitably make the activity boring for you just like your child. Enter the time to work on sociability, mutual aid, politeness, patience, perseverance and organization among others. Remember, however, that your child is watching you, so don't just mention your expectations, but apply them. 0-5 years: After putting your child in the basket, give him one image at a time so that he finds the food by himself, much like one would look and find. You can guide him if necessary by suggesting that he look for the food according to color, for example, and offering help if you see that he is getting discouraged. Patience, you will most likely find the food before it! 6-12: If you are comfortable and your child's temperament allows, you can take your own basket to start. This is when the food categories will make it easier for your child to search through the aisles. You can give him the grocery list he has written himself and suggest different strategies for organizing: a pencil to rake or check the food deposited in the basket or find each food one after the other in order. in which they were registered. Don't hesitate to help him if he asks for it. 13-17: Take one or two baskets, at your convenience, and let your child take the reins to be able to observe his strategies and reflections between similar products. Take the opportunity to introduce the concepts of prices per kg for example (shown on labels), to explain the difference between better known brands and brands without names and also include the marketing tricks that major markets use to draw our attention to some products rather than others. The combinations of knowledge to share with your teen are immense!
Once at home
When you return, take a few minutes of your time to make a verbal feedback with your child, regardless of age. Ask him how he found the experience, the apprehensions he had, what he liked or less appreciated, what he learned and what he will do differently next time. Don't hesitate to mention your positive impressions. If you have bought new foods, I invite you to take a little snack break to taste it together and share this moment. If you are interested in continuing your teen's learning, you can even start preparing dinner together. Note that if you have more than one child, it's just as possible! All you have to do is redistribute the tasks or make the grocery store a special time for one of them and alternate each week.