I Can Do It! Natalie’s diary – shopping tips

Have you started your shopping yet? Don’t worry, your child can assist! It’s a great way for them to learn vital independence skills such as locating items within a shop, understanding the value of money and distinguishing between coins.

It’s our second week of I Can Do It, and we’ve been busy learning new shopping tips and advice. Here are just some of the things we discussed this week –

(1) Encourage your child to find items to help them understand where they are located in the shop

For example, in the toy aisle encourage your child to feel each item purchased as well as the surrounding items. Touch and talk about all the different products: don’t hesitate to squeeze a squeezable product! Encourage the child to explore all the details of texture, shape, temperature, and size. Teach your child that it’s okay to ask a shop assistant for help; in many major supermarkets you can have your own personal shopper to assist if you ask.

(2) Gradually assign more responsibility during shopping trips

Start asking your child to go and get items for you eg. a bunch of bananas and show them exactly where you’ll meet them on their return. Encourage your child to understand the value of coins and how to tell one from another, in terms of size, weight and shape and give them the chance to practice paying for items.

Cashier hands over receipt to student shopping in asda

(3) When returning home, ask your child to help you put the shopping away

This will increase their understanding of how useful organisation can be. Organised cupboards reduce the need for labelling. Work out a system, write it down and stick to it. If similar tins/packets/bottles are needed, they can be differentiated with:-

  • Hair elastic bands,
  • Rubber bands,
  • Slade colour indicating buttons, (RNIB DH24 – DH31 £1.95 for 10 or DH97 £2.55 for mixed pack of 16.
  • Magnetic alphabet letters,
  • Tie-on labels (written or brailled, RNIB do pack of 50 suitable for brailling £3.75)
  • Clear self-adhesive labels (RNIB do some for brailling on)
  • Braille dymo tape
  • Talking tin lids (£9.99 for 3 from RNIB)
  • Tacti-Mark (tactile liquid plastic that sets, words, letters and patterns can be written on a variety of surfaces with nozzle. Available in orange or black £3.34 per tube)

(4) If confident and age appropriate, ask your child to go into a familiar store on their own, preparing the items needed together (i.e. money, shopping list)

This can be gradually built up to include the route to and from the shop, using a trolley with wheels to carry the shopping home. Increase the number and variety of errands so that your child becomes familiar with the layout of different shops.


Do you have any tips of your own that’d you like to share, or want to find out more? Get in touch! Ring 0161 872 1234 or email me at natalie.thompson@henshaws.org.uk.

Read the rest of my diary series here

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