One great way to involve your little one in the earliest stages of food preparation is to create a grocery list. Starting with a list of just pictures with a baby as young as 12 months can help to model what this process is like. Then, after some practice you can move on to a list with words (not to practice reading) but as an indirect preparation for it someday as well as it being a natural representation of the item you’re looking for.
We’ve put together a toddler-friendly grocery list just for you. Read the tips below, then download and print the shopping list.
Printable Grocery List For Monti Kids Families
3 tips for grocery shopping with a toddler:
1. Go shopping with a full belly and a full sleep tank.
Setting your little one up for success in the store is crucial – going hungry or tired doesn’t do that. When rested and content you’ll both have more patience to get your job done and have fun doing it too! Remember if things go south quickly it’s ok to walk out and try again another time.
2. Make it an experience!
Talk about everything you are doing and buying – and even some things you aren’t. First, Name EVERYTHING – there’s never too much to know! Then, smell and feel the fruits and vegetables you are buying (hint: scratch the surface of citrus and other fruits to get a whole new burst of smells). Lift up different boxes, containers, and jugs and compare their weights and temperatures. All of these conversations will help your little one to classify and organize not only the foods at the store but new language to use in other contexts later too!
3. Practice Grace and Courtesy (the Montessori phrase for manners).
Hold the door for others and thank those that hold it for you – narrating, “I said thank you to that kind person who held open the door for us,” goes much further than asking your little one to do the thanking – he’ll absorb this practice and someday surprise you with it all on his own. Say hello to fellow shoppers, thank the employees you interact with, and apologize or say, “Excuse me,” in appropriate situations, too. Our little ones are learning to be kind humans from us, their first and greatest teacher, so all of these interactions will be ones we hope to see come from them someday!