How and Why to Grocery Shop with Kids

With summer fast approaching and children out of school, more of the errands we used to run alone become a family activity—like grocery shopping! 

This year, turn grocery shopping into a stress-free adventure with our kid-friendly grocery list template and top tips to make every run full of fun. 

Why to Go Grocery Shopping with Kids More Often

We get it—it’s easy to experience stress when shopping with kids. But did you know that taking your children to the grocery store with you actually benefits everyone involved? 

  • Grocery shopping provides children with learning opportunities and parents with teaching moments. Parents get to use each trip as an opportunity to introduce children to concepts like budgeting and nutrition, while kids learn how to add prices of products, read labels, explore new spaces and feel the satisfaction of finding items! 
  • Sensory exploration for children. A grocery store is a great place for kids because there’s so much to see, smell, hear, taste, and touch! Small children can practice reaching and holding cold objects like butter and yogurt, weighing produce, trying samples, and finding their way to the right aisles. 
  • Children learn to follow instructions and practice behavior. The grocery store provides a great low-stakes space for kids to improve soft skills like patience, being polite, making compromises, and completing tasks like bagging items or putting them in the cart. 
  • Gives parents and children bonding opportunities. Discussing favorite ingredients, working together as a team, and exploring new aisles are all beautiful ways to make unexpected memories and deepen bonds by finding joy in the mundane. 
  • Shopping provides children with insight into nutrition and healthy choices. Visiting the grocery store with kids is a great way to spark their interest in where their food comes from, foster their curiosity about food they haven’t tried, and begin to teach them the value of nutrition. It’s also a chance to talk about why you buy the food you do! 

Setting Expectations with Yourself and Your Child Before the Grocery Trip 

The easiest way to promote a smooth grocery trip with children is by setting expectations with them before the trip. This means getting them involved in making a great grocery list (and telling them the importance of sticking to it!), setting a budget with them, and reminding them which behaviors are valued at a grocery store (like patience or politeness) This also can mean telling them what is not acceptable, such as grabbing items randomly or drifting away if they are younger and more likely to get lost. 

It’s also important to check in with yourself before the trip! Make sure you’re not in a hurry or have somewhere else to be in the near future—this can ensure that you’re in the right mindset. Also try to avoid going to the grocery store when children are likely to be hungry or sleepy, and consider making the trip when stores are less likely to be extremely crowded. This means less stress and more fun! 

Meet our Kid-Friendly Grocery List to Promote a Smooth Shopping Trip 

By involving children in the process of writing a grocery list, they learn about not only nutrition but also the importance of accountability by sticking to their list. 

We recommend printing out our kid-friendly grocery list template and filling it out with children to teach them about how each food provides us with different benefits (like how oranges give us Vitamin C, or how our SuperFruit Freezie Pops provide lots of joy!) Using grocery lists also makes it easier for children to treat a trip to the grocery store like a scavenger hunt, and practice focus. 

Tips to Make Family Grocery Trips Stress-Free and Fun

So what do we do once we get there? Other than grabbing what’s needed, here’s some of our favorite tips to make grocery shopping fun for the kids, and stress-free for the parents. 

  1. Don’t worry about the time. Take the time to be in the present with your children and enjoy every moment of the trip. Allow yourself to also show excitement when something is found—it’s not always about getting in and out ASAP! 
  2. Talk about the food you don’t buy. Children wanting food that you’re not going to buy is an inevitable part of shopping. When this happens, tell them your reasons honestly and teach them about compromise. 
  3. Let kids pick one new thing. Children love to feel like decision-makers too! By letting them pick one item for themselves (from a specific aisle or section) they get to be curious, make choices, and try new foods! 
  4. Bring them in on the hunt! If your children are old enough to not stay close to you throughout the trip, send them on an adventure to find certain items, and then find you after! This is a great way to give kids responsibility, trust, and self-satisfaction as they navigate a grocery store. 
  5. Lean into samples when they’re around. Even if parents and children are well-fed, sometimes we still deserve a sample or two. Don’t hesitate to tell your children to keep their eyes peeled for sample stations throughout the trip, and share in the joy of tasting new treats!