Hey parents! I know grocery shopping with a child on the spectrum can be challenging at times. Here are a few helpful tips that may help you get your get in and out of the grocery store successfully!
- Keep little hands busy from grabbing items outside of the cart by giving your child something to hold onto while in the cart. It can be a little bag of snacks or a fun toy to play with.
- Make shopping a game. Share the list of items with your child. You can even make a visual list if it will be more helpful for your child to see the pictures of the items you need to find.
- Set rules and stick to them. If you don’t follow through with the rules you set, your child will learn your rules don’t need to be followed.
- Reward good behavior and don’t reward the bad! If your child is being cooperative, praise your child and deliver other desirable items and activities while you shop. If your child makes it through the entire shopping trip successfully, reward your child afterwards such as go to the park or get some ice cream.
Start with short trips and work up to keep your child successful if shopping trips have a history of being very difficult. You may need to start with going to the store to purchase only 1 item so that you can get in and out quickly to begin teaching your child how to behave while in the store so that you can get a chance to reward your child for being successful. Once your child begins to understand how to behave in the store and learns that being cooperative leads to other desirable and fun things, you can gradually begin to increase the number of items on your list and the length of your shopping trip.