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Making Grocery Shopping a Fun and Educational Experience for Kids

Hello, everyone!

I'm Anika, the founder of Mommy Made This, a business dedicated to inspiring creativity in children and building a supportive community of parents. 


Today, I want to share with you one of my favourite childhood memories and how I'm incorporating this into my own parenting journey.


This all about making the weekly food shop a fun experience and teach the kids some great lessons along the way!


For those of you who are in the respectful parenting space and know a little bit about that, you will have definitely heard about the idea of working with your children, encouraging teamwork, independence, autonomy, choices and balancing that with healthy boundaries. Providing them with the ‘guardrails’ that they need but still keeping that connection with our children: working together with them rather than against them. 


So, one part of that, is giving our children opportunities to contribute meaningfully to family life and things like shopping and chores. 


Growing up, my dad had a unique approach to our weekly food shopping trips that made them an adventure we looked forward to. He empowered my siblings and I, by giving us each a shopping list and allowing us to contribute meaningfully to the family shop.





So, what did this look like in practice?


  1. Each of us received a little shopping list tailored to our abilities. From navigating the aisles to selecting items and checking best-before dates, we were entrusted with tasks that made us feel like valued members of the team. So for me as the eldest, the items on my list might be higher up on the shelves, or I’d need to check best before dates or make sure I got a particular brand that the family liked.

  2. We were then tasked with going off into the shop and collecting the items on our list one by one, and bring them back to the trolley that my Dad was pushing, shopping for the items that he had on his own list

  3. Each week we were allowed to pick something small as a treat for us once we were done – sometimes this was something that would go towards the movie night snacks we had for that night, sometimes it was just something for ourselves.

  4. When we got home, we’d all be part of unpacking the bags, sorting the new food into the cupboard and fridge, and discarding food that was past its best or had gone off.



The reason why I now love this idea as a parent, is I think it taught me and my siblings so much as children:


The Power of Involvement: 


By involving us in the weekly shop, we were not only taught valuable life skills but it also fostered our sense of independence, teamwork, and responsibility. It’s given me a lifelong appreciation of collaboration and contribution as key aspects of being part of a family.


Building Social Skills: 


But more than that – it also gave us opportunity for hands-on learning: Sometimes he’d knowingly put items on our lists that were too high for us to reach. This meant we either had to find a sibling that was taller to help us out, or ask a fellow shopper for help. If we felt too shy to do this, again, we’d do it together with our brother or sister. 


Learning Through Exploration: 


We learnt about the different choices you can make and why what makes sense in different circumstances – why we might go for fresh over frozen, or organic, or how we can reduce packaging and waste, and what the difference is between long-life and fresh milk. 

We also explored concepts like budgeting, and how sometimes the product is virtually the same, but a brand name will make it more expensive. Through all of these experiences, we gained a deeper understanding of the food we consumed and the importance of making mindful decisions.


Celebrating Achievements: 


Completing our shopping lists filled us with a sense of accomplishment that extended beyond that weekly shop. Back home, especially when it was movie night, we’d be excited to share our ‘treasures’ and pick and mix between the different items each of us had chosen. I guess, my dad's tradition of allowing us to choose a special item for ourselves further reinforced that joy of teamwork and the importance of celebrating our successes, too.


Continuing the Tradition: 


So, I'm excited to try this with my children too. We’ve done the odd shop like this already and there have been a couple of things that the children (and I) found tricky – like giving them the independence to go off and get the items on their list by themselves. It was hard for me, and for them! So, we’ve agreed they’ll go off in pairs, or all three of them together at first to build their confidence (and mine 😉)


I hope to instill in them the same sense of empowerment, curiosity, and joy that I experienced as a child around the weekly food shop! And that it becomes a bit of a weekly adventure rather than just another ‘job’ on the never ending list of things to do! 


Here’s to embracing the chaos, celebrating the victories, and cherishing those moments of discovery with your little helpers by your side.


Anika

Founder, Mommy Made This



P.S. Come and join our free FB community where we share regular updates and videos on all things parenting too and are building a community of like-minded parents. x


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