Have you seen the cell phone commercial that has a mom in the store with her daughter? Daughter is in the shopping cart, mom is looking at a box of cereal. She smiles at her daughter while the girl is oblivious, totally focused on the cartoon streaming to mom’s phone? The catch phrase, talking about all the various things you can watch on your phone: “We know what is most important.” (I tried to find it but it has eluded me.) This one has me irritated. It gets under my skin and I just want to rail at the phone company for it. How dare you!
The most important thing to you should be your child, not the features on your phone. What is this showing children? They have to watch TV all the time? Families can’t escape from electronic entertainment, even in the grocery store? Sure, I have used my phone to text while in line. But I don’t ignore people around me, especially not my child. I don’t text or check Facebook while with friends; it is just rude.
A trip to the grocery store is full of amazing learning opportunities for a child! The grocery store is the first experience with nutrition. A parent explains what they are buying and why. Show them the variety of fruits and vegetables, why that brightly colored box of cereal is not the one to buy. Try new foods.
It is a time for conversation: “What would you like for dinner?” Children have likes and dislikes and often want to have a say in what they eat. If we teach them what is good, then they can make informed decisions to their diet.
The grocery store is a place for early mathematics skills. “No, you have five dollars to spend, that bag of chips costs three. You can’t get the bag of Lindor’s chocolates.” Budgeting, adding, subtracting, counting all happens when you shop. Include your child.
Early writing and reading skills can be honed while grocery shopping. We all have a list when we go in (mental, electronic, or on paper); have your child cross items off while you shop. Better yet, have the child pick them up as your read the item off. Environmental print is one of the earliest forms of reading. A child knows the logo for many of their favorite foods. Let them show off that skill. Then tie that back to math and compare the price of the item with a store brand.
The commercial is also showing the parent that a parent can only be happy if the child is restrained in a shopping cart watching a movie. (Side note: do you realize how much of a day a child spends tied down or restrained??) Is this what parenting has sunk down to?
The grocery store outing can be a wonderful enriching moment for a child and adult. Take the time, and enrich your moments. Enjoy.