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How to Survive Supermarket Shopping with Your Toddler

Visiting the supermarket with a toddler in tow can be a stressful experience for many parents. Many of us have either seen a toddler meltdown or have experienced one ourselves at the supermarket. Below are some tips to help make a trip to the supermarket an enjoyable experience:

Before the Supermarket

  • Make time at home to write a thorough shopping list. To help you remember food items visualise each aisle in your mind and the contents from each aisle you will need
  • Cut out pictures of easy to recognise food items and make a shopping list for your toddler as well
  • To avoid a tantrum,’ if possible, go to the supermarket when your toddler is well rested and not hungry
  • Talk about food shopping in a positive nature e.g “You are going to be a big help for me today at the supermarket, helping me to get the food we need from the shelves.”
  • Talk to your toddler about the behaviour you expect in a positive manner e.g “Today you will help to buy some fresh vegetables to have as a salad with the barbeque dad will be cooking tomorrow night,” instead of negative comments such as “Do not ask mummy for lollies, chocolate or toys today at the shops.”

At the Supermarket

  • Keep a close eye on your little one when they are near the shopping trolley. Accidents can occur when trolleys tip over. Do not let your toddler stand or climb out of the shopping trolley. Any child sitting in a shopping trolley must be restrained securely
  • Let your toddler feel important by allowing them to help you. Provide favourite food items for your toddler to hold and to help push the trolley down parts of the aisle
  • Don’t forget to get your toddler to look at their pictorial shopping list and when you reach the aisle where one of the items is located, help them to find it
  • Play games that are easy with your toddler while shopping, e.g I spy with my little eye, a yellow fruit.’ Another easy game may involve finding the colour blue’ on the shelf or counting the amount of vegetables or fruit that you put in the trolley
  • Praise the good behaviour that is shown by your toddler
  • Try to not spend too much time deciding between products and reading the labels. Before you know it your toddler could be on the move, or could lose patience. Leave this for solo trips to the supermarket
  • When it is time to go to the checkout, try to find one that is free from chocolate and lollies
  • This will help to avoid a possible pester tantrum.’

After the Supermarket

  • When your shopping fun is over and you arrive home after hopefully a successful shopping trip, include your toddler in helping to put the shopping away.