Shopping Tips for Children with Autism

Shopping with children isn’t easy. From the busy environments to the constant ‘I wants’, children will always find a way to make your trip to the store more difficult. The discomfort an autistic child may feel during shopping experiences can bring some other challenges into the mix. 

This article was written to give some general tips on how to make your child feel more comfortable during shopping trips. And a happy child may help mom or dad have an easier shopping experience.

Planning Your Shopping Trips

While knocking out all your shopping needs in one trip sounds nice, it may not be the best option for your child. Extended shopping trips can throw off a child’s schedule. Spreading out your shopping may allow your child to get more comfortable with the trips in general.

Sticking to the principle of shorter trips also allows parents to introduce children to different environments at different times. This can help familiarize your child with new places and activities that happen in social situations.

And be sure to keep ‘big purchase’ shopping experiences kid-free. If you are buying something that needs salespeople, paperwork, or consultation, you’ll definitely want to leave your child at home. These complicated sales can take a long time to complete and you may have to switch your focus from your child to the sale–which isn’t good for either of you!

Making Shopping Trips Easier

Just like most situations, shopping with an autistic child can be made easier by preparing for their potential discomfort. Some great things to bring on any shopping excursion include:

  • Any must-have toys or objects
  • Favorite snacks & drinks
  • A list or other visual aid to show your child the shopping itinerary

On top of physical objects that can make shopping easier, there are also a few things you can do with your child to prepare. Be sure to talk to your child’s therapist about these practices to make sure they are in line with their program.

  • Timeframe visual aids
  • Picking out things at specific stores (snacks, clothes, toys, etc, depending on the store)
  • Helping with the shopping (pushing a cart, holding a basket, using the credit card, etc)
  • Practice behavior with potential rewards

Helping your child feel comfortable is paramount to a great shopping experience. Be sure to work with your child before any new shopping location to keep the attitudes and behaviors positive.

ABA Therapy from IABA Consultants

If you have questions regarding autism treatment, education, or plans to use ABA therapy, we are here for you! Our goal is to make sure no family is turned away due to financial constraints. Our therapy team would love to talk to you. Find the location closest to you and give us a call. We’re here for you.