Lindsay, A. 2020, Shopping with Kids, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, IP
shopping with child


  • Park wisely. Choose a space near the cart corrals instead of looking for a spot closest to the entrance. Having easy access to the carts makes it easier to get your kids ready to go in, unload groceries to your car, and return your shopping cart.
  • Let your child make her own "shopping list" at home. Have her choose a recipe to help prepare or snacks she'll want for the week. Have her make a list by drawing the items she chose. At the store let her be responsible for "reading" items on her list.
  • Avoid going to the store when you and your child are hungry. Nothing will ruin your grocery trip more than a hungry toddler meltdown, and if you shop while you're famished you'll be more likely to make unplanned (and unhealthy) purchases. Eat a light snack before you head to the store or bring some easy to carry snacks along.
  • Set expectations. When you arrive at the store, make a plan with your child to choose GO foods instead of WHOA foods. If possible, allow her to choose one new and one familiar GO food.
  • Skip the samples If it's something you don't want your child to try, this will minimize begging, pleading, and crying. Some supermarkets offer GO foods for small kids to sample in the produce aisle!
  • Stick with the plan. You want to get in and out as efficiently as possible so organize a grocery list with the items grouped in similar areas of the store. This will keep you from running back and forth from one side of the store to the other. Remember: the healthiest foods are usually found on the perimeter of the store!


Playing games while in the store can be fun for everybody. For example, you and your children can play a game of:

  • "Guess the weight" Pick a certain produce item and then ask your child tell you how much they think it weighs; once you're both ready for the answer, just lay it on the scale and find out.
  • "Guess the price" Point to a certain product you're planning to purchase and then have your child guess how much it costs.
  • Play "I-Spy" See if your child can locate something green in the produce section. Encourage your kids to look around and be engaged with their surroundings.
  • "Guess the ingredients" Tell your child you're making spaghetti sauce, have them "guess" what you need to buy for spaghetti sauce. Then, have them help you make it!


Helwig, J. (2019, March 1). 6 Ways to Make Grocery Shopping with Kids Not Awful.

Learn more about the author(s)


Also of Interest:

running obstacles
Cardio Endurance | Heart Smart
Cardio- Respiratory, or “Cardio” Endurance is an important element to children’s physical fitness.
Lindsay, A. & Byington, T. 2020, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, IP
begal brunch sandwich
Recipes - Healthy Kids Resource Center
Packing a healthy lunchbox and other healthy ideas.
Lindsay, A. 2020, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, IP
toddlers with tablet
Screen Time | Make Time to Unplug
Increased time in front of a screen means less time being physically active, contributing to higher weight and BMI, increased caloric intake & unhealthy food choices.
Lindsay, A. & Byington, T. 2020, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, IP
family dinner
Talking Positively At Mealtimes - Your Words Matter
As your child's caregiver, you play the biggest role in their eating behavior.
Lindsay, A. 2020, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, IP
mother slicing fruit with daugher
Nevada Statewide SNAP-Ed Needs Assessment, 2020-2021
A needs assessment of SNAP-Ed programs statewide in Nevada. In 2020, all counties had a SNAP-Ed program, though they did not all receive individual funding, and 9 had programs, delivered by Extension. This publication shows many counties lack health and nutrition programs and how...
Buffington, A., Webber, K., and Lindsay, A. 2021, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno

Associated Programs

Kids and leader dancing with colored scarves in a classroom

Healthy Kids Resource Center

A one-stop shop for evidence-based research, resources, curricula, activities and materials that focus on obesity prevention for teachers and parents of young children. It is designed to educate parents and teachers as well as provide the tools needed to teach young children how to live a healthy lifestyle.

two boys holding a large wedge of watermelon

Healthy Kids - Nutrition Toolbox

This toolbox covers tips to increase childrens' overall levels of health and gives information pertaining to changing health habits.


Extension Director's Office | On the campus of University of Nevada, Reno