Taking your kids to the supermarket is often a tricky experience. You want to get through as fast as possible without any tantrums and with a trolley filled with healthy food.

The kids see the lolly aisle and want to dive right in and start eating.

So how do you avoid the pitfalls around every corner and leave without a trolley full of junk? The way PlanBuyCook’s Jen handles it is through meal planning.

First we start with the weekly meal plan so we have the shopping list on the phone before leaving home. The kids have had input into the week’s meals. We agree that the list is ready to go, and then head to the supermarket.

Once at the supermarket, I tackle the issue head-on with the kids. The lollies are sometimes placed in the same aisle as the cereal, so you can’t avoid that aisle at the shops.

I like to engage my kids in a conversation about the great colours and packets, with things like “Isn’t that a beautiful purple colour, and I wonder how they get the colour into those lollies”. That way you are acknowledging that they look great and attractive. The kids have my attention. We also talk about how they probably taste great, and before we know it, we’re in the next aisle!

If I get any resistance after that, we check the list to see if there is any mention of lollies, and if not, we move on.

I use the same tactic when at the checkout. I talk about the chewing gum packaging and the little lollies and just keep the conversation rolling while the food goes through the checkout. I don’t want to get into arguments and shout at them to put them back. Instead of avoiding it and hoping they don’t see them, I talk about them openly. The kids now say things like “That chocolate would be really nice but I know we’re not buying any now”. It is a really great step forward.

When shopping for one of their parties or for lollies to donate to the school fete, I add them to the shopping list, take the kids with me and involve them in the purchase, so they know that they can have special party food and that it is ok as an occasional food.

I try to move the conversation away from whether it is ‘bad for you’. Rather I like to talk about it not being everyday food. Like everything, it is mainly a question of balance.

How do you handle the supermarket run with kids? Please SHARE in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
  • I think I was very lucky with my kids.
    I dont know why but they just didnt throw tantrums other then my middle daughter once at the supermarket but that was because she was sick.
    They knew that they could ask for things and sometimes i would say yes and other times I would say no. if i said no they knew there was no way I would change my mind and they never bothered to try.
    At the Supermarket the mini trolleys are great and you can give each child a shopping list. I never worried about how long the shopping took…it was fun.
    On occasions where I needed to dash and dash out they knew they were not allowed their own cart and we had to be quick.
    I hope when im old that my kids will take me to the supermarket and they will be happy for me to slowly go about my shopping while they follow behind. I hope they remember how I used to let them shop when they were little and how we learnt counting and colours and what ingredients when in what dish as we shopped.


  • My mum always did this with us, as well as teaching us how to read nutrition labels and what they meant.


  • I really love this idea, we are it at the lollie age yet but I hope I remember this article when we are! Thanks so much for sharing!


  • This is fantastic. I’ve worked with a lot of families around managing children’s behaviour and shopping is a stress point that always comes up. These are fantastic points to acknowledge and model for children how we may sometimes want things but can’t always have them.
    I’ve noticed Woolies has introduced free fruit for kids when they’re shopping which is also fantastic.


  • Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


  • Give the kids a list of their own, ask them to help by grabbing things off the shelves they can reach, play games about where items are, agree before hand on what they can or can’t have during the shopping trip… These are just some of the tricks I tried over time.


  • I never bought lollies and my kids never whined about it either. My kids are very happy to pick a piece of fruit out of the “free for kids fruit basket” @ Woolworths.


  • at least now they have taken away the huge rows of sweets and chocolate at the checkouts.


  • Mine are both now in school, so shopping is a stress free event oh apart from the prices.


  • My neighbour and I handled the supermarket by combining our families [she had 6 and I had 4 children] – the children paired off and talked non stop as we went round the aisles and got what we wanted into our trolleys – no tantrums, no crying and no “Please can we have”


  • Great tips. Fortunately we’re not quite at lolly age but I will be sure to remember this when we get into this situation.


  • I really like this tactic, kids love to be part of decision making. I love having everyone’s input on the meal plan to we often get recipe books or magazines out to help us give new things ago.


  • Some great tips! I’m not there yet with my toddler but it won’t be long!


  • I’m terrible the only way I get through is getting her a kinder surprise at the start of the shopping and by the time we get through the check out she’s nearly finished it but happy and no tantrums…


  • I don’t have to worry about it now. I used to leave them with dad. Or I’ld take just one at a time. Very rarely I would take all of them grocery shopping on my own

    • lol we all go together sometimes and they are pretty good in the supermarket


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