The Secrets to Raising Smart Shoppers

Just like any other social behavior, good shopping habits are learned at a young age. As a parent who wants your children to learn to be smart shoppers, you can teach important lessons as a seamless part of each shopping trip. Grocery shopping trips can be educational excursions that provide real life training if you approach them the right way. The main key is to keep your kids involved in the process. It is much easier to just make your list and pick up the items as fast as possible, but spending just a few extra minutes can give your children tools that they will use for the rest of their lives.

Engage Kids in the Planning

Make the kids part of the process. Invite them to help you create the week’s shopping list. You can discuss which items are necessary for the week and which items you don’t really need. Even young children will have an opinion about what kind of food they want to eat over the next week. Let your kids help you find and clip coupons for the items on the list. Building a good list and sticking to it is one of the most important parts of living within a good budget.

Be Firm about Extra Items

All children try to add something extra to the shopping cart while you go through the store. Grocery store shelves are designed to catch a kid’s attention and tempt them to grab something that’s not on the list. Never give in to these unplanned purchases. Remind your kids that the list has everything you need and stay firm about sticking to the list. Ask your kids how they plan to pay for the item if they become overly insistent on the purchase.

Talk About Your Choices

Don’t just toss the items on the list into the cart and keep moving. You’ve already talked about the things you want to buy, but once you are at the store, there are still choices to be made. Explain why you decided to buy one type of cereal rather than another. Show you kids how to compare fruits and vegetables. Talk about the different package sizes as well as the different prices so that your kids understand how to find the best overall value. You don’t have to give a speech as you choose each item. Just a few words as you place it in the cart will begin to give them the idea of how to think as you shop.

Model Polite Interactions

When you need to interact with store employees, do it in the way you would like to see your children interact with them. Be polite and respectful at all times. If you seem dismissive of store clerks or cashiers and treat them as if they were only there to serve you, your children will treat them the same way as they get older. Friendliness will gain you better service and make the trip less painful for everyone involved.