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Tips to avoid a strop at the shop

All children have their moments and sometimes they can decide to kick off at the worst time – like when we’re trying to do the shopping! If their behaviour is causing you grief, we've got a few tips from parents across Scotland to keep them happy at the supermarket and avoid those temper tantrums, so you can get your groceries sorted.

Tip #1: Price matching

While you’re shopping, get your child to look for prices and check how much different things cost. Or look for any item that costs £2 exactly. If something is on offer – 2 for £1, say – you could help them work out what each individual item costs.

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Tip #2: Carrots and custard

If your kid throws a strop when you're shopping, why not try playing carrots and custard? Ask them to find everything on your shopping list that begins with the letter 'C'. If you don't have a shopping list, ask them to point out all the 'C' words they see.

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Tip #3: What's in YOUR basket?

As you add things to your basket or trolley, how about playing a simple memory game together? As you put an item in your basket you say “I went to the shops and I bought a tin of beans” (or whatever you’ve chosen). As you add the next item you say “I went to the shops and I bought a tin of beans and a lettuce.” And so on. How many objects can your wee one remember without looking in the basket?

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Tip #4: Supermarket challenge

Tell your child what you’re looking for, then when they find the item you can read the name and check the price together. If there’s more than one brand of the same product on the shelf, see if they can compare sizes and prices and pick the one that’s the best value.

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Tip #5: Bargain hunt

If you think that you’re in for a sulk the next time you go for a big shop, try bargain hunting! Getting them to find all the items less than £1 on your list can keep them entertained.

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Tip #6: Read the packets

Picking out a can or food packet, and helping your child read the label is a good way for them to practise their reading while they’re out and about with you. After sounding out the first letter, they could then look for other items that begin with the same letter – like milk, margarine, and marmalade.

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Tip #7: Spot the signs

First, you can tell your children what item you’re looking for – then ask them to read the signs above the aisles to work out where to find it. Once you’ve got the right aisle, the final part of their mission is to help you spot the item and tell you how much it costs.

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Tip #8: At the check out

Kids love doing grown-up things. So the next time you pop out for a few things at the shops, why not let your child have a go at counting out and paying at the till, or putting your card on the contactless machine?

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Tip#9: Mini chef

Getting them to help you create a "menu" for the week is a great way to get them more interested in going shopping. Can they help you look up a recipe? They can help you to look for the ingredients, and you can make it together when you get home.

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Tip#10: Don't shop hungry

It pays give everyone a snack before you shop – and that includes you! If you shop on an empty stomach, you'll probably find that you come home with half the junk food aisle. And if they always throw a strop by the sweetie aisle, just try to steer clear!

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From the parents

Personal shopper

My 7 year old likes to be given responsibility so sometimes I ask her to be in charge of certain items to buy at the supermarket. She writes her list, has the money for those items in her purse and a wee shopping bag ready to put them in. It keeps her involved because all the way round she is checking her list. I keep it to a few items e.g broccoli, apples and one thing she can have choice over like yoghurts.

Let them take charge

If you "scan & go" at the supermarket, let them be in charge of the scanner! My wee boy loves it

Being a parent is the best job in the world, but it can also be one of the most stressful. There will be days when it all feels a little too much. To help you manage the challenges ahead, Parent Club has some tips on coping with being a parent and keeping calm with your wee one so you can build a rewarding relationship together.

Animation of cartoon character frustration meter

Animation of cartoon character frustration meter

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Behaviour Play & Learn Out the house Child (4-8 years)

Last updated: 4 Feb, 2021