Ah, grocery shopping. The mere thought strikes fear and dread in the hearts of parents everywhere. Working with hundreds of families over the years, it was a topic I was asked about again and again. It wasn’t exactly my area of expertise. But helping parents cope with challenges, and helping them discover ways of enriching daily routines to promote their child’s development was. So I spent a surprising amount of time throughout the course of my career discussing, problem solving, and strategizing with parents around the “issue” of grocery shopping with kids. And over time, with the help of parents and their feedback, I developed a little “grocery shopping bag of tricks”.
Now the mommy of a two year old, I’ve been pleased to discover for myself (sigh of relief) that those tricks really do work. And while grocery shopping isn’t the easiest part of my week, it is often one of the most fun parts, for both my daughter and myself (honestly – I’m not kidding!). And while we’re having fun in the grocery store, my daughter is having one of the richest learning experiences I could hope for her to have.
Now by this point, many of you are (justifiably) rolling your eyes. Grocery shopping with little ones is TOUGH. I totally get it. And I agree. BUT – and here’s the important point – it can always get better. Of the many families I worked with on this issue over the years, there wasn’t one I can recall who was not able to make some improvement to this necessary family routine. It may never end up being the best part of your week. But it doesn’t have to be the worst.
So because this is a big topic, I plan to chat about it in several parts – kind of a continuing series on the joys and pitfalls awaiting you up and down the aisles. But as I leave you waiting in breathless anticipation, a little homework assignment for you…
The next time you go grocery shopping, pay attention to the parents you see shopping with their little ones. Watch (but subtly – the last thing a harried parent needs is a gawking stranger on top of everything else!) to see how they are engaging and interacting with their child. Listen (subtly!) to their conversations. Observe their body language. If you were a little person strapped against your will into their cold metal cart, would you be captivated by the experience they were sharing with you? Enchanted by the sound of their voice? Fascinated by the rich and colourful world they were helping you to explore? Hmmmm….