Hello dads. I hope all is going well and your trips to the grocery store have been fruitful. No pun intended.

As a grocery clerk I have a mission to help educate and help my customers I interact with on a daily basis, sometimes in the range of one to two hundred people per day.  I enjoy the responsibility and grateful that I work for a great company that offers flexible work hours so I can see my family.

However, being allowed to have a flexible schedule as a part-time worker does not mean I can work typical 9 to 5 hours as if I was working in a corporate setting. And it definitely does not mean I have the weekends off. As a grocery clerk (food broker) we must put in our sweat equity, which not only includes providing customer service, it also includes replenishing shelves, unloading and reloading trucks, merchandising and cleaning up the occasional spillage on the store floor.

When I work Fridays and Sundays in the evenings I cannot help be a little envious to see dads grocery shop with their children. As a dad of a seven year old, I make sure to savor each moment and engage with him when I go grocery shopping.

I know dads are tired and stressed from a long week at work. Or maybe your spouse asked you to pick up your child or kids from daycare.

That being said, I see how dads don’t interact with their kids.

Here are some simple steps to make a trip to your supermarket with your kids a memorable one.

  1. Leave the mobile devices off: All too often I see children sitting in a huggy playing on their mobile device. Even worse is when I see a dad checking out something on line or responding to an email. The question I ask is this: Do you own technology or does technology own you?  Keep the phone/device in your pocket and speak with your child or children. You will never get the moment back speaking to your child.
  2. Go with a planned budget and add up the groceries as you walk through the aisles. Tis is a great way for your child, regardless of their age to do some basic math outside the classroom and actually apply some basic knowledge about adding and budgeting.
  3. Make you child an active participant and have them make up the list in advance. It is easy to make up a shopping list, but to get your children engaged it is not a bad idea to let them make up a grocery list and take charge. Like I said, a child who is engaged authentically with their parent is a happier kid. This builds trust too.
  4. Grab a recipe book from home and find the ingredients to make it together: This can range from an Italian chicken marsala dinner to a SpongeBob Krabby Patty (yes there is a cool recipe book for making this and other cool recipes and it is a lot of fun).
  5. Buy some canned food and make an agreement to donate it. Sometimes you can get a paper bag and donate the food within your local supermarket or bring it to a needy local food shelter. Or else donate it to places like your local church or the United Way. There are tons of places that will accept food donations. Just a small act of kindness can make a monumental difference in the lives of families and children in need.
  6. Keep your cool at all times. If your child drops a jar of glass tomato sauce don’t yell. These things happen every day, and the store associates are ready to clean it up. In addition, if your child complains about staying too long, let them do it. Eventually they will finish complaining and enjoy the experience. Any trip grocery shopping should be enjoyable. whether you are picking up Betty Crocker cake mix for making cupcakes or a buggy filled with groceries for a party cooking together as a family.
  7. Finally, if any of the above don’t generate a connection, try again and savor every trip you go grocery shopping.

If you can think or any other ways to suggest engaging with your child or children in the supermarket, — 0r if you want to subscribe to be informed of upcoming blog posts please send me an email at groceronamission.gmail.com.