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Were you really surprised by the headline? If you’re a parent to a small child, we’re sure you weren’t the least bit surprised by this news. Taking things out of the trolley that were put there while you weren’t looking, or prising the latest toy from their sticky little fingers with a full on tantrum following close behind, is probably a regular occurrence. So, you’re more likely to be saying that you’re surprised it’s only £20!

Again, as you’d expect, it’s the sweets and toys the little angels pester for that push up the cost of the shopping. And if you’re not careful, you could be putting up to £40 worth of stuff you didn’t budget for and don’t need in your basket, just because your kids are with you, as 3 in 5* parents we surveyed did.

So, what’s the solution? It really is as obvious as obvious could be – you leave your bundles of joy at home! If you can that is.

If you can’t, there are still some things you can do to keep them entertained, and away from things they shouldn’t be touching, as you shop. Here are seven simple things for you to try next time:

Idea 1

Make a shopping wallet – use an old wallet, or pick a cheap one in one of the pound shops, and fill it with pencils, paper, stickers, in fact anything that you think will entertain them and that’s small enough to fit in the wallet. If they have any pocket money, that too could be put in their wallet.

Idea 2

Take a book along – take their favourite book along and get them to practice reading aloud to you as you walk around the aisles. You could even get a book related to shopping, like this one, so they learn as they go.

Idea 3

Dressing up – apparently, allowing the little lovelies to dress up makes them very happy. Just a simple cape seems to sometimes be enough to do to the job!

Idea 4

Give them their own tasks – write them out a shopping list of their own and get them to find and collect the different items on it.

Idea 5

Offer a reward – now you may see this more of a bribe, depending on your standpoint, but offering something in exchange for good behaviour can be an effective way to get them to leave things that are not on the list alone.

Idea 6

Bingo! – If you have the patience, you could create a set of bingo cards, so the kids can mark things off as they pass them in the aisles.

Idea 7

Trolley organiser – make them the official organiser, so each time you take something off the shelf, pass it to them and ask them to organise the trolley. You can either let them choose how they want to organise, or you can suggest ways, like by the main colour of the packaging, or by food groups.

Remember to vary these on a regular basis – kids get bored quickly so will need lots of variety. And, don’t forget about online shopping. There’s no chance of ending up with something you didn’t want if you do it that way!

If you have any other ways of entertaining your kids while shopping do let us know on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

*RedDot questioned a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults aged 18 and over between 20th and 22nd April.

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