Activate Your Child's Brain in one Shopping Trip

Ways to get your child into school mode with a trip to the store.
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Let the kids take the lead in back-to-school shopping to teach valuable planning and decision-making skills.

We’ve reached that time of year where it’s time to buy school supplies. Ordering items online can be much more efficient than planning a trip to the store, but what is lost is your child’s participation and investment in the process. These items are for their academic use and there are so many quality skills that can be practiced when given the responsibility of purchasing school supplies. It may take additional patience and time on behalf of the parent, but practicing this independence now is worth the investment so that your child knows how to partake in these crucial skills in the future. Below are ways to help reignite your child’s brain:

Planning Skills: Create a checklist

To help develop planning skills, you and your child can create your own back-to-school checklists to use at the store.

Decision-Making SkillsChoose Your Own Items

When your child takes part in the selection process, they are more likely to use the items and it teaches them how to make choices with the guidance of the checklist created.

Independence and Initiative: Split up at the Store

Let your child know that you will not be readily available to help. Create a plan of three steps your child can take before asking you for help at the store.

For example: ask an employee, read the store signs, skip that item and come back to it.  

Time Management Skills: Set a Time Limit

Estimate how long it will take for you and your child to independently browse, select items and meet back at the cash register. Set a timer or alarm for reminders.

Math Skills: Provide a Budget

Estimate how much each item will cost and how many of each item you will need. If your child goes over budget, problem solve which items are a top priority and how to keep within the budget.

Communication Skills: Let Your Child Take the Lead

Before heading to the store, let your child know they will be in charge of putting the items on the conveyer belt, exchanging money and communicating with the cashier. Discuss three actions your child can take to create positive and effective communication with the cashier.

For example: Make eye contact, project your voice, ask how their day is going.

Parent Tip: To help build your child’s confidence, model positive communication skills the next time you are at the store with your child. Then, discuss what your child noticed that you did with your voice and your body to communicate effectively.

Happy back-to-school shopping!