Updated: Feb 25
Online shopping is a big thing, and I admit to using it myself on occasions, however not for the groceries.
Why not? you may ask.
In this world of time saving devises we are loosing sight that you cannot truly save time. We are all given the same number of hours in the day, the only thing we can control is how we spend it. Online shopping is being sold on the premise that we can spend more time together as a family, great, doing what? Sitting at home on the very devise we just used to buy our shopping!
Shopping is one of the last tedious jobs we seem to have left as a family. We have washing machines for our clothes, dish washers for the dishes and though we may need to tidy the house, tomorrow will do! These devises may need to be loaded and unloaded, but not socially. They are jobs for individuals, little interaction is needed.
Shopping is different. When there is apparently no edible food in the pantry, then the only way to rectify the situation is to go shopping. Dragging unwilling children to the shops is a nightmare for most parents, and the pull to avoid it by shopping online is huge, however this is why I feel we should say no to 'click and go.'
There are always things in life we enjoy less than others. In todays society this is seen as bad, however they offer great learning opportunities.
Having to put down your phone to do something for the family as a whole teaches respect for the family unit. Life is not all about them.
All members of the community need food, and though it is embarrassing when a child points at a person and asks you a loud inappropriate question, it is healthy. This is how they learn. Your answer will help shape them for the future.
Shopping offers the opportunity to model how to interact with strangers. You may decide to let others with less items go first, or help others access items on a higher shelf. Hopefully you choose a manned checkout and briefly acknowledge the teller.
Children learn that you can't just take what you want without paying for it. Just because they select it on a screen doesn't mean they can have it!
Walking through the isles of a shop stimulates a child's visual and auditory processes. They get to point to things, ask questions and learn to hear the answer 'no.'
Shopping can cause conflict. Learning how to manage conflict is important for children, and adults. Negotiating around what to have for dinner, looking and comparing prices, this helps all family members feel like they have had a say so when you serve up those sprouts and cauliflower burgers, they may be eaten, even if only to access the chocolate and ice cream for after's.
If there is a strong desire for lollies, made clear by almost constant demands, then possibly there is a job to be done before the reward is gained.
As a parent you may gain more support than you thought. Not many people really enjoy shopping for food. As you walk around the store with a wailer, not all the looks will be judgmental. Many will be supportive and understanding. Learning to ignore/cope with external judgement will help in other situations. Kids can, and will, react as badly to 'fun' situations, ones where their disappoint is harder for others to understand.
When in the store you can make your own choices. You get to pick from the variety on offer. You may learn that cheaper is not always better, or that apples are not always green.
My kids are resigned to the fact that shopping is something we try our best to do as a family. We still have complaints but overall things have got easier and the value of the conversations I have had with my teenagers, as they have unwillingly joined me on a 'we need some milk' shopping trip, is time truly well spent.